In a new study in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, researchers found that after participants experienced something negative (in this case, watching The Silence of the Lambs), outgoing individuals had no problem calling up a friend to assuage their angst. But people who were more socially apprehensive were more likely to post about it on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media platforms.
“Most channels of communication—phone, text, even email—require people to reach out to someone specific. People who are socially apprehensive may find this difficult because they fear they are bothering others,” explains study author Eva C. Buechel, Ph.D., assistant professor of marketing at the University of South Carolina. But disclosing your thoughts to your whole social network, on the other hand, allows for undirected communication with multiple people at once. “You can just kind of put it out there and the people who see it can respond if they want to, but don’t have to,” she says. Buechel believes this approach probably holds true after experiencing any kind of negative emotion, including anger, frustration, and disappointment. Whether it’s falling short of your PR or battling an injury, athletes inevitably face setbacks that are frustrating. But sharing those feelings via social media could improve your mood—especially if you’re a less extraverted person.
Pay attention to what kind of posts get positive feedback from your friends and who’s listening, suggests Buechel. While your work colleagues might not care that you’re not making gains faster on your current training plan, your running buddies probably do, so consider posting those gripes on Strava or in a Facebook training group.