Anxiety Support at New Social Network
Crippled by social anxiety? Does the thought of your next Facebook update evoke a panic attack? Now, there’s a social networking site for you.
AnxietySocialNet (ASN) was launched earlier this year as an interactive hub for people suffering from social anxiety, agoraphobia, obsessive compulsive disorder or any other form of anxiety. People with health conditions seem to be fairly passionate about using online social networks to find information and get support, but big health organizations are lagging behind in social media adoption.
Much like Facebook, users can update their statuses, post photos and chat with each other — but the common thread here is anxiety. The site, which bills itself “the first anxiety social network,” acts as both a community forum and a health resource, encouraging users to complete diary entries and provide updates on their mental stability. “The whole idea behind ASN is to allow people to share their emotions in a ‘safe place’ and learn from each other’s experiences,” said Salomon Ptasevich, Israel-based site founder and former anxiety sufferer.
“I am on Facebook and twitter as well, but I feel so much safer here, because I know people understand, and I don’t have to go into depth about what I am going through, everyone already knows this reduces the stress level.” - Mary Jones (ASN User)
As social networks like Facebook reach near-ubiquity their scope can lead to entirely new anxieties. As opposed to a one-to-one interaction in real life, when updating your status to Facebook you are broadcasting yourself to potentially hundreds of people at once. The fear of being judged by that many people in a single moment can be stifling and force people to withdraw into themselves even further.
ASN is more than just a social network, but a support system as well. There is no pretense since everyone on it is suffering from similar issues of anxiety. Based on a short questionnaire, people’s moods are evaluated and published on their profile page. Using this information other people can reach out to them to offer them help or someone to talk to. It’s a place where people can not only share their problems but also be comfortable with themselves knowing everyone in the network is going through similar situations.
ASN (Anxiety Social Net) is growing at a fast pace, with a strong presence also shaping up in the “mainstream” social networks. In just 4 months, ASN has garnered a popular twitter and facebook following, which is unique for a niche social network. Over 4,000 people have joined ASN’s facebook fan page and over 8,000 people are following ASN on twitter. Such jumps in the mainstream social networks bodes well for ASN’s concept of providing peer-to-peer anxiety support.
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- Michal Snow
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