Don't worry nudone, you're not alone.
But that shouldn'rt stop you blogging about your anxious condition though -- I haven't seen too many things on that subject yet
People (well, most of us) live according to what others think and according to specific (sometimes defective) sociocultural scripts. It's a complex subject which has been explored from several points of view: psychological, sociological, anthropological (and maybe biological... who knows). The “web” component might be new, but I’m not sure if it really changes the “parameters” that much.
Status, more specifically, has always been important in human societies — it's one of these important parameter human beings manipulate with more or less ability to differentiate themselves from others, gain power, promote their ideas, genes, etc. It should be noted though that status, which always exists in terms of comparisons and hierarchy (you’re always better, higher or worse, lower than someone else) is not bad per se; it’s just another component of the complex human communication and interaction system. BUT, in contrast, the feeling of anxiety can tell something about one’s attitude (most probably negative) towards status.
Anxiety could probably be loosely defined as a “counter emotion” as it is a “negative” feeling which arises because one represses, censures or muffles the expression of another emotion... fear. It can manifest through different kinds of bodily experiences, like stomach pain and other physical tensions… Ao anxiety usually means that one fears something in the present or in the future. The cure for ansxiety usually lies in one’s willingness to disclose what fear it hides. Fear tells you that you perceive a potential danger. Some possibly useful and therapeutic questions would be: what do you fear and why do you fear what you fear? What do you need to do that you’re not doing to resolve that fear? Etc. These questions can help to reveal what the insecurities are, exactly, and find ways to calm them down. But, of course, that might not be enough, depending on other factors (biological, psychological…). Ken R’s knowledge could be handy here
Like you suggested, every era and sociocultural context comes with its own ways of defining identity, hence status, etc. Presence on the web (like powerful computers, software, etc.) certainly plays a major role in identity definition nowadays and, in a strange way (and despite its inherent networking function!!), the web seems to contribute (more then anything else before) to our decidedly narcissistic culture, so characteristic of Western postmodern societies : aren't we (we... web 2.0’s children or contemporaries) obsessed with ourselves, our image(s) and how people see us? I’m not saying that in a condescending way, of course (if it's part of our evolution... so be it!). I’m just saying…
It's a huge subject, my brain is fried, I’m not a real psychologist nor a sociologist, and my English is way too clunky (sorry…) to embark in a multuperspectivist analysis of "status anxiety" in relation to web 2.0 at 3:30 am…
But maybe I can add one more thing to make you feel less lonely
: sometimes I wonder if I'm not unhappy about my Ph.D. research because of some screwed up scripts or belief systems, parental projections, etc., related to some kind of screwed up… status perception. Yes, that’s it. And last year I surprised myself having “grandiose” thoughts of a great website of mine where I would disclose all these precious ideas my supervisor doesn't seem to care too much about
, etc. Not that it's a bad idea though… But I do have this weird feeling… Anxiety?
Anyway, it's in the air. It's part of who we are in this sociocultural context.
But what matters is most probably our attitude towards status and web conquest. (Fortunately, my girlfriend seems oblivious of my absence of status...
I have to go get some sleep now as I’m starting to say stupid teings