6 Social Media Tips to Help Prevent the Unemployment “Blues”

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While everyone seems to be pre-occupied with actor Charlie Sheen’s emotional outbursts, there is other news – closer to home – that should be of greater concern to regular, everyday people like you and me. As unemployment rises, apparently, so does the incidence of male depression.

“As the 21st century progresses, men will face greater risks of developing depressive disorders,” say Emory University School of Medicine experts in a recent edition of the British Journal of Psychiatry. Traditionally, women have had up to twice the risk of developing depression over their lifetime as men, and the reasons are both biological and social. That is all about to change as the gap is set to narrow.

According to Dr Boadie Dunlop of Emory: “Dubbed by some the ‘Mancession'(About 75% of the jobs lost in the downturn belonged to men), the economic downturn has hit men particularly hard because of its disproportionate effect on traditional male industries such as construction and manufacturing. Research has shown that roughly 75% of jobs lost in the United States since the beginning of the recession in 2007 were held by men. There is little reason to believe that traditional male jobs will return in significant numbers with economic recovery. These are not encouraging words for anyone to hear from either an economic or mental health standpoint.

The hardest hit industries mentioned above are construction and manufacturing. These are mostly traditional blue-collar and manual jobs that do not require a college degree. By nature, this group of males has developed a particularly strong connection between higher self esteem and the work that they do, as breadwinners.

“This really confirms what we already know about unemployment and that it has a much bigger impact on men, mainly because male identity is bound up as a worker,” explains Peter Baker, chief executive of the Men’s Health Forum. “Male social networks are based around work so losing a job can lead to isolation and depression,” he adds.

Taken together with an earlier study by The Royal Pingdom, which discovered that the majority of Social Networking sites on the Web had more female (84 percent) than male users, the comments made by the Emory University experts is particularly troubling. Why? Because, increasingly, Social Media is becoming the way that most people connect with one another to network for a variety of reasons, including career transitioning – getting a new job.

We know the single most effective tactic to locate and identify the best job leads comes through our contacts and connections. Apparently, men – especially those with a limited education – are not availing themselves of the camaraderie and support that awaits them in Social Media. This is not to say that Social Media is the prevention or cure for depression. Clearly, it is neither. But, it certainly is a way for many unemployed men to deal with the isolation and depression that comes along with losing their jobs. In fact, why wait to become unemployed to start using Social Media?

Here is some helpful advice:

1. Don’t be a “Macho” Man. Give up the thought that Social Media was created specifically to replace the telephone as a way for girlfriends, wives and daughters to gossip more. Also, drop the old idea that the Web is the after-school “playground” for teens, tweens and horny twenty-somethings. It hasn’t been only that for quite awhile. “Real men may not eat quiche,” but many use the Internet to make connections for new employment. It works, so why not use it?

2. It’s Not Just a Fad. The Web and Social Media are here to stay. More and more of what we do in our daily lives is moving online and there has already been too much of a shift for any chance of a reversal. From bill paying to “Skyping” our troops overseas, the Web has become far too important for all of us to go the way of the CB radio.

3. No Man is an Island unto Himself. This is not a computer fact of life – it is simply, a fact of life. Period. If you don’t know anyone, you suffer alone. Chances are that either you or some of the people you know got their jobs from personal referrals. Before most employers look at resumes and applications from ads, they ask around for recommendations from existing employees and friends. Most believe that good people generally recommend other good people for jobs. This is why it is important to connect with as many people as you can and let them know you are seeking new employment. Social Media has made that job much easier, because at the click of a button, everyone can know that you are available for work. One E-mail from a friend can trigger an interview.

4. You Have All the Time You Need. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to chain yourself to a computer to network with others. Chances are that the only thing you need to do to reach your friends and to make new ones is a Facebook account. You don’t need Twitter and LinkedIn may be too high level for jobs in the trades. Sure, you should be registered with CareerBuilder, Monster and HotJobs and also be on the lookout for some niche sites geared to your trade, but most of your active networking can be limited to Facebook. Plan your day – and nights – accordingly. Give Facebook one or two hours a day and move on.

5. Get Started While You Are Working. The job picture is and will remain volatile for years to come. You never know when you might be let go from your job. Building a network takes time and you want to build it when people feel less obligated to help you. Over time, you will be helping others like yourself and creating capital for you to cash in at a later date. Social Media is about doing for others. The worst things you can do are “friend” someone and immediately ask them to do something for you. It is much better to have a few hundred “friends” already on Facebook that you have been genuine and cordial with over time. Build strong relationships.

6. Get Out and Meet People. Social Media is not a replacement for human interaction, but it can certainly lead to it. Set up some get-togethers with those you know or have met on Social Media. Share a burger and a beer with them. Have a few laughs. Get to know each other better. It may lead to getting even more helpful advice from them and it will just feel good.

If you are willing to accept the advice offered and still feel depressed and isolated, it is highly recommended that discuss your feelings with your loved ones and seek professional help, immediately. Depression happens. It is nothing to be ashamed about. And, it certainly is not a reason to stop living your life. Situations improve and the help you get will see you through the tough times. In the meantime, Social Media will keep you in touch with others and help make the world feel a little bit smaller and much more caring.

Source by Marc LeVine