I’ve been using Facebook for around 9 years. Before that I sporadically used a myriad of social media channels throughout my teen years. Unlike Facebook though, most of those channels are now gone and I’m not faced with cringe worthy reminders of the things I wrote when my emotional intelligence wasn’t at the level it is now. Thank you Facebook memories!Emotional intelligence doesn’t have anything to do with a person’s IQ or the grades they got in school. A person can be a rocket scientist and still have zero emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence refers to someone’s ability to evaluate, express, identify and control their emotions.
This type of intelligence helps us to navigate interpersonal relationships effectively. Someone with a low emotional intelligence often lacks the insight into their emotions and how the expression of those emotions impacts on those around them. People who have been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), like myself, are often diagnosed because their emotional responses are out of sync with what is happening around them.
When I was quite unwell, it showed in my online activity. Even now, when I am having a bad day, it shows. When I was unwell, before I started therapy, I didn’t think about the consequences of the things I posted on my social media. I didn’t worry about the fact that not everything I shared was mine to share. I lacked insight into my actions and the emotions ruled.
Over the last couple of years the online space has changed dramatically. Facebook and micro blogging reigns supreme and there’s been a huge push back against curated social media. Raw and honest has become what the masses are screaming for but I worry about how that translates to real time posting and the people who get caught in the crossfire.
I think that having a high level of emotional intelligence is extremely important when it comes to being a public figure on social media. Having the ability to assess risk, communicate effectively and still have your thoughts heard is valuable in the fast paced environment of social media. A strong emotional intelligence doesn’t mean that you don’t share raw and honest, but it does mean that you have a greater insight into the wider impact of your actions.
Social media is an absolute minefield of opinions, not all of them are going to gel with yours and hell some of them might even be about you. It’s easy to go with our emotional response, instead of our wise mind when something we disagree with happens. It’s easy to lash out at the people who have upset us.
Emotional intelligence is what steps in when that response pushes to the forefront of our minds. It’s what stops us from posting about our dickhead bosses. The post might be true, the person might have wronged you, but have you really thought about the consequences? I know I didn’t when I was unwell.
Do you think it’s important to have a high level of emotional intelligence to be an online identity?