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The 5 Emotional Stages of Posting Online

Having grown up with the development of the Internet all around us, most of my generation has posted something online at least once. We regularly check our social media accounts to the point of mindlessly scrolling through when we’re supposed to be doing something else. We put so much thought into everything we say despite most of our posts being lost in a sea of other online updates. Regardless of who will even see the post, we think and rethink everything we put out there. As I’m sure my fellow Her Campus writers can agree, and anyone who has been in this position, there’s a very broad scope of emotions we go through with each post.

Stage One: Pride

You’ve just created something you’re really proud of. Well, maybe not really proud of, but definitely proud enough to share it with the world. Whether it's an epic picture of a sunset, a Tik Tok or a piece of writing you really enjoy, you’ve just created something that you want to others to see. So, you decide to upload it as soon as it’s finished, and you *think* you like it.

Cardi B facetime

Stage Two: Regret

You’ve either just uploaded your work or you are waiting for it to be accepted by an editor or boss. These are the first few minutes, or even days, when all you can do is wait and see what other people think of it. Is the picture getting enough likes? Did I proofread well enough? Is the caption or title witty and enticing? What if it’s not actually as cool as I originally thought?

Needless to say, you’re a little stressed.Glitch Man

Stage Three: Editing

Your post has just been uploaded or is finally gaining popularity. You can just see the likes rolling in, or not. Either way, something has prompted you to view your post again to make sure it’s the same as when you left it. This is when you start to notice all the bad stuff: the spelling errors, the run-on sentences or maybe an obvious Photoshop mishap. You catch your typos or other people catch them for you, and then you start to get really embarrassed that you didn’t catch it earlier. You try to edit your post, but most social media let people know that you edited something! They might wonder what was wrong with it before! Maybe it was better off not posting in the first place! Ahhhhh!!!

Stage Four: Embarrassment

I find this stage happens after some time has passed. Lots of posts, such as photos from your “edgy phase” or YouTube videos that you made when you were 12, start to feel really embarrassing. You shouldn’t be embarrassed because, after all, that was you, but you’re starting to realize how strange it was. How did you think this was ever post-worthy? You start to deny that it was ever posted by deleting or archiving it (making it non-public, but not deleting it). I know so many people who have gone back on their Instagram accounts and archived nearly everything. I find a lot of people nowadays only have five or six Instagram posts, and they were all taken within the last three years.

Surprised Beyonce

Stage Five: Acceptance

You’re a bit older now, and a bit wiser too. You’ve started to look back at those embarrassing posts from only a year ago and think about why you first posted it. You must have posted it for some reason, right? Yes. It made you happy! It made you proud!

You look back at all the old posts and decide if you like them or not. Regardless of your decision, you understand that you might have been a different person back then or that you really enjoyed that part of your life. You start to show a few close friends and they love the post! Then you start to go back and appreciate everything you posted when you were younger. Finally, after all the stress came with posting, you may be proud of it again. If anything, you’ve come to terms with it and decided to accept what you put on the Internet. Besides, maybe you were just ahead of your time.

These are the 5 stages I identified in my own social media experience. I came up with this idea after posting something last week. After sending it in, I immediately went into a stage of regret and pointed out everything I disliked about it. I noticed this funny trend of stress, editing and embarrassment. Now you can see if you go through it too!

If this was relatable for you, I hope you get to a stage of acceptance and start to feel pride with your creativity once again. Thanks for reading!