31 January, 2013

Is Social Media Turning Us Into Narcissists?

I was researching narcissism for a school essay recently and came across several articles about the so-called rise of narcissism due to social media.

I can see why it would be true. Twitter feeds, Facebook timelines, blog posts are all created with the expectation someone out there is going to read them and be interested in what that person has to say; that someone is going to like their photograph or want to know about their personal life. There are billions of voices on the web by now, and most of them feel entitled to some kind of attention. Narcissism is something everyone carries around with them in real life too, of course (you have to have some level of self-esteem and self-interest), but the internet allows for it in different, possibly more insidious ways.

The place where I notice the promotional kind of attention-seeking the most is in book promotions, probably because I follow so many blogs of authors. It's not exclusive to writers, but you can't move around in the blogosphere without bumping into a blog tour or book or cover release. Essentially, a lot of people are calling out "I am awesome!" or "I have something great to sell!". I don't think this is bad, particularly if someone's self-publishing or with a small press, as s/he has to contribute a significant amount of marketing.

That kind of thing does, however, raise some questions: How many promotional profiles built for the sole purpose of selling a product are actually tapping into an individual's narcissism and how many are normal people who just have something they want to share? How many people become more narcissistic over time because of social media? How many people are really all "Me, me, me!" and how many really care about the people they follow and interact with online?

Personally, I'd like to say I'm not more of a narcissist since I started blogging. I'd like to say my almost-three-years of blog posts haven't gone to my head, or that I'm unaffected by the fact people actually read the stuff I throw onto the web, or that I am still surprised when someone leaves a comment.

But I can't say I'm surprised when I receive comments anymore (though I'm still very thankful for them) because I know I have readers, and when real life conversation turns to the web and what people are doing on it, sometimes I feel like pointing out that hey, I have a site with more than 1000 followers and am kind of "established" in this corner of the web (though I never actually have said that). In short, I am proud of this blog. I like posting. I enjoy focusing on my own opinions, which is the whole reason I started The Eagle's Aerial Perspective.


What do you think? Do you believe narcissism is going up because of the internet? Do you see narcissistic traits in social media? Do you think the focused way social networking sites like Facebook and blogs promote the individual is a good or a bad thing?


-----The Golden Eagle

54 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You make some good points.
Yes, I'm aware of how many followers I have and comments my posts generate, so a little narcissism is probably involved. But I have tried to use that for others, not just to promote me. (Which still feels awkward to do.) What I have built through my blog I can use to promote others.

Pat Hatt said...

Some are very much about me me me, I just ignore them for the most part, as you can tell who they are. As the cat i pretend to have a huge ego, as you know cats do haha but I really couldn't care less about numbers, I mean it's great seeing them high and does feed my ego a bit but still i remain grounded and help out where I can and just be a rhyming nut.

Angela Brown said...

Interesting you mention this. One of my biggest challenges as a self-published author is the promotion of my novel lol! Yes, I laugh because I chose a route that pretty much requires telling folks about your book, even if I just want friends and family to get it.

However, I'm not sure if I've gotten to a point or level where I can claim an unhealthy level of narcissism. Guess that's a part of the introvert in me that could use a bit of narcissistic tweaking :-)

But yeah, I'd have to say that social media has "paved the way" for increased narcissism. So many ways to tell the world all about "me, me, look where I tooted, look where I fell...etc."

Tyrean Martinson said...

It's an interesting thought. I started my blog, and didn't even know how to go about meeting other bloggers - it was kind of an "out there" place for my thoughts, and I didn't know if anyone read it. Now I write more, have more followers, try to be a good follower to others, but I often find that I'm not proud of my posts. They are just ok, not really meaningful or anything like that. It's fun . . .and I like comments. Does that make me a narcissist? I hope not.
I have a book promo coming up, and it's uncomfortable. I've been having a hard time writing guest posts, because I keep scrapping the ones I have . . .I'm not sure they're good enough to be on someone else's blog. Of course, being too worried about that sort of thing is just another angle on narcissistic pride.
I could definitely overthink this thing, and yet it's good to think about.

Hopefully, like Alex, I can encourage others. He's a good example of the kind of blogger I would like to be.

JeffO said...

Chicken or egg? Narcissism goes back to the ancient Greeks (well, they get credit for naming it, anyway). It's a part of human nature, no doubt about it. Does the internet merely give a platform to the narcissists already out there, or does it create new ones? Hard to say one way or the other.

Anthony said...

Human beings are naturally narcissistic, since we are self-interested creatures (who can perform altruistic acts).

With that in mind, social media might allow us to more easily satisfy our narcissistic tendencies, but I don't think they make us more narcissistic. :)

Mark Noce said...

You make great points, but I think it's all a bit chicken and the egg. People who are already self-centered now can simply be more so. But social media really helps people too. Look at all the protest movements in the Arab Spring. As governments tried to shut them down, they communicated via social media and that ultimately helped their movement triumph. Score one for modern technology against old world dictatorships:)

Nick Wilford said...

Definitely a yin and yang to it. I don't feel I've become narcissistic just because I have reliable commenters, I'm just grateful that people are reading! And I don't promulgate political views or go on about my own achievements. But there is definitely scope for people who are already disposed that way, to use social media to feel more important.

Andrew Leon said...

It's not just the Internet; it's just that Internet came along just in time for the millennials, which was always destined to be a "me" generation. If you follow generational theory at all, the pattern is apparent. My generation is what is being called the "unprotected" generation, and we, in response to being unprotected as children, are raising the (over)protected generation, which includes protecting all those little feelings and making each child feel imminently special. However, there are things that counter the focus on "me" in this generation, such as being more interested in being members of the group and being a contributing member of the group. I don't know that's it's completely balanced, but it is something.

Personally, I hate the whole marketing aspect of what I'm doing, and I hate trying to sell myself. I really wish I had a millennial that would come work for me, someone that feels more comfortable doing that stuff, and do it all for me.

Donna Hosie said...

Excellent post.

It's a fine line I guess between narcissism and confidence. I am a confident person and I want to sell books, however I make sure it isn't all about me. Like Alex mentions, writers tend to support and promote each other.

shelly said...

Truthfully, reality TV, has opened the door for narcissism. The Kardasians are a great example.

People with no real talent are being televised.

As for the book peddlers...not so much. We have to make a living, too.

And I like your blog because you're a REALBIE.

Hugs and chocolate,
Shelly

Charles Gramlich said...

What social media gives, it also takes away. Sometimes I do something that gets attention. the next thing I do gets none. Hard to get a big head over that kind of experience.

L.G. Smith said...

I don't know. I mean, I see where there could be a narcissistic side to it -- you do get attention and you do get sort of petted if you've done something people like. But on the other hand, you also put yourself in the path of criticism and rejection by sharing on line, especially when people can hide behind "anonymous" remarks/reviews.

mooderino said...

I'm not sure it's the internet that's responsible. Shows like Amercan Idol and celebs famous for nothing have been proliferating for some time.

mood
Moody Writing

Cynthia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cynthia said...

I distinguish between narcissistic and innocent self-promoting behavior. I associate narcissism with a spotlight-craving individual who lacks genuine compassion for others and likes to tear others down to bring themselves up. I associate innocent self-promoting behavior with just that- innocent self-promoting behavior. I find that the overwhelming majority of writers/authors who talk about themselves and their accomplishments in the blogosphere are merely self-promoting. I think it's okay to self-promote if you can balance it out right. I wouldn't know if someone had written a book or done something really awesome if they never mentioned it.

Anstice Potts said...

There's nothing wrong with being proud of your accomplishments and sharing them with others in your social network. But I think it becomes narcissistic if you are constantly trying to focus attention on yourself all the time and not bothering to share or comment on other people's posts. I see more narcissism on visual platforms like facebook where teens post pouty pictures of themselves than I do on blogging platforms. I think that's because facebook is more about the number of 'friends' you have, and what you look like in your profile pic, while in the blogging community you are valued more for what you say in your posts.

Jennifer R. Hubbard said...

No, I think people already were narcisissistic.

The changes I see are in the area of privacy--people are much more willing to put their personal information at risk and to share their lives with strangers--and also in what constitutes interaction. Nowadays hitting a "Like" button is a way of communicating.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I think it is getting worse all the time. I guess I'm not suffering from narcissism too much because I am so self conscious about promoting my books.

Peaceful Reader said...

I think social media does create an environment of "look at me" and yet many people can remain grounded while utilizing twitter, blogs, and FB.

The great thing about social media is discovery. People who are all about the me, me, me, miss out on so much that others have to share.

Sharing has to go beyond what you had for breakfast or that is where narcissistic behavior begins.

Michael Offutt, Speculative Fiction Author said...

Yes. I think narcissism is going up because of the internet. You don't spend nearly enough time as I do looking up pornography on Tumblr. But if you wanted to (it's easy combine any two words like "firetruck cock" and add tumblr) you could easily find yourself in a dark corner of the internet that you didn't know existed.

Now why would I say this? Well for one, I look at porn (judge if you want I don't care).

But two, nearly all of it is amateur. Meaning there are TONS of people out there submitting their naked photos to these sites. why?

They are narcissists. They want people to stare and jerk off to their pictures.

Everyone in this day and age wants to be a celebrity.

The result has been that Tumblr is drowning under a deluge of free porn "PRAISE THE INTERNET GODS!"

Liz said...

It's always something.

Any time I see something decrying the end of civilization as we know it due to some newfangled thingamajig, I remember that the last thingamajig got the exact same reaction. Social media may change the way some of us interact, but I don't think it creates what wasn't already underneath the surface.

There have always been narcissists. Used to be that they would have to get jobs in the media. Before that, I'm sure they found some other outlet. There's just so many more people now and a shiny new toy to play with.

Just my opinion.

Trisha said...

Almost all the book tours I've seen happening on blogs have been for authors who are not self-centred narcissists (or at least they don't seem to be). I think that the majority of folks in this community are quite humble even if they are proud of their work. And why shouldn't we be proud of our creations?

I do have this question of yours in mind though, when I think about my future as a self-pubbed author, and how I'm going to have to basically shove my work in people's faces for promo. I'd almost be happy to give my work away for free if it meant I got readers, which is probably sad to say...but even if I were to only do that, I'd have to advertise it, wouldn't I?

Rusty Webb said...

I think I'm a bit too self-aware of how others may view me to really get too hung up on all my twitter followers or blog followers. Mostly, because I don't have that many, and of those ones I do have, probably 10% (at best) actually read anything I say in a given month.

Which means I have a sphere of influence of about 20 to 30 people out of the whole internet. And I use the term 'influence' pretty loosely.

No, I do it mostly because I enjoy it. Although it can seem like work sometimes. I rarely hawk my wares anywhere or anything. Although I do claim that I'm awesome about twice a day minimum - I assume folks no it's not a legitimate claim.

Rob-bear said...

I write because I have ideas to share. Probably a throwback to my years as a radio/print news reporter and columnist. I write because I think I have things to say. People can take them or leave them, but I feel good about my writing. Often it helps me clear my thoughts.

I have read the me, me, me blogs. There are a few in which people are doing interesting things — they're light reading. The other ones I read are solid reflection on life, with which anyone could agree, or disagree.

Michael Di Gesu said...

I think several bloggers do take IT a bit too far, but on whole the community is wonderful... If Narcissism is running rampart, then how come SO many bloggers give there time to help others? Or spend the time leaving CARING and thoughtful comments?

Yes, we may boast from time to time, but everyone needs to be acknowledged for their talent ... We are human after all. Life beats us on a daily basis, so a pat on the back is necessary on occasion.

Jamie Gibbs said...

I agree that social media has turned a lot of us into complete attention seekers. I see my followers/comments as the number of people who are interested in the content I share, not me as a person. So if I post something that gets 0 comments, I know that particular type of post isn't as popular.

Jamie

Adina West said...

Funny timing, me coming to visit today, as this post is perfect for my state of mind!

I agree with other commenters that not all users of social media are narcissistic, but this is certainly a time when narcissism is being glorified more than ever before. Particularly on sites like Facebook where you're actually asked to share what you're doing now. Some people take that far too literally, and there are others of us who really don't like sharing quite that much!

One of the reasons my own blogging has become less frequent was because, being surrounded by other writer bloggers, I often felt like one clamouring voice among many, and I'm just not that keen on the sound of my own voice! So now I post when I actually have news to share, and as I have very little time to visit other blogs, very few people visit mine.

I'm not sure how to summarise what I"m saying, but this post did strike a chord!

Brinda said...

I don't think I'm becoming narcissistic when I try to share the news about my writing on blogs and Facebook. It's not about ME but about my work. Isn't that different?

That's a lot of followers and you should be excited that you are sharing things that people enjoy.

Jessica Bell said...

All I can say is that it's a good thing, because it's THE ONLY way that is the most effective nowadays. Not many people flip open a newspaper with their morning coffee anymore. They turn on their iPad and browse the Internet. It's just the way the media has changed and I think, if you are too shy to toot you're own horn nowadays, you just don't get noticed.

Paul Tobin said...

You raise an very interesting point. I think that we have means to make our lives appear as if they are important. Perhaps it is a facet of this hollow fame culture that pervades society today. People seem to want to be a celebrity without the years of honing a craft/skills. I digress, I don't think your blog has been narcissistic. I think it is a platform for access/awareness of others, be they authors or whatever. I think that some people use the medium for self aggrandisment but I think that such blogs end up a a fad and soon disappear. I think I use the whole media thing to broadcast, I suppose I am promoting myself, or my taste. It doesn't feel like i'm shouting "Look at Me..." What i like about it is that I can communicate with other people who in a lifetime of writing letters I probably would never reach. Hmmm...an interesting post, food for thought.

Karen Jones Gowen said...

Not sure humans need an excuse to be self-centered LOL.

Mark Means said...

A very interesting thought...hmmmmm. I think, in some cases, there's more than a bit of narcissism involved in blogging but, then again, I think many just do it for themselves.

For me, at this point, I'm blogging/writing for me and, should someone else enjoy what I write or find it a bit interesting, all the better :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi GE - stimulating post - the one thing about the internet is we can 'ignore' or 'leave' - and I've done that for a few people - who I'm challenged with via their attitude ..

Giving achieves more than promoting oneself ..

But social media .. it is "I've done this" "I've done that" .. perhaps it could be better expressed - twitter and facebook - don't allow much time to stop and think before hitting the send button -

Lots of interesting comments you've had too - a good conversation .. cheers Hilary

Julia :) said...

I DEFINITELY think that social media leads to more narcissism. I mean, it's all about self. Posting your thoughts, your reactions, your feelings, YOU. I think social networking is a great tool, but I also think it has made society a bit more selfish. :/

Amanda the Aspiring said...

Hi, Golden! I think this raises some interesting questions. First, I think maybe the definition of narcissism being discussed here is off—narcissism is a grandiose sense of self, an exaggerated and excessive evaluation of one's importance and talents, so not everyone can have it. By definition, most people can't, because for something to be excessive, it must be higher than average.

And with that said, it is a mental disorder of sorts, and so—in the true definition of the word—will generally only affect those predisposed to it, though a variety of factors. Like with schizophrenia: if someone in your recent ancestry had it, you probably have a genetic predisposition, but aspects of "nurture" as well as "nature" may change whether or not it is expressed. If you don't have a predisposition for narcissism, it's less likely to develop, despite the ego-inflating influence of social media.

Social media certainly puts a focused lens over the self, but does that necessarily make all who take part narcissists? I don't think so; the desire to be known and liked is a common human interest. I would look at it more as an amplification of the truth, rather than an altering of the truth—the vast majority of people are selfish to some degree, be it healthy or unhealthy.

As for true narcissists, I believe social media would act in the same way—all that attention would only seem to support their narcissistic tendencies(though a true narcissist does not need proof), and act as an amplifier. Social media creates a climate that nurtures these feelings rather than condemns them, but I don't think it creates the feelings. The narcissists are still narcissists, and normal selfish people are still normal selfish people.

And that sparks the question: When enough people place a great amount of importance on a single person(such as the case of a celebrity, be it an actress or an ├╝ber popular blogger), is a feeling of great importance any longer illegitimate? Does the social climate make their ego an accurate reflection of reality, or are they still to be considered a selfish, perhaps narcissistic person?

Sorry for the super long comment! I love discussing the psychology of social issues. I have lots of opinion. ;) …Does that make me a narcissist? O_O *cue Twilight Zone music*

mshatch said...

Interesting post. And everyone here made some great points. For those of us who are writers I think we DO want to get noticed, not necessarily because we're narcissistic but rather because we have something we want to share (our writing) and in order to do that and be successful at it we must have followers and people who are interested in us - or so we're told. But there are also all those people who (like someone said) are famous for nothing. They aren't actors or writers or musicians or anything and yet somehow they made it onto television and acquired a huge following of fans. The Kardashians are just one example. I like following other writers because they often have something to say about writing or books, both of which interest me. What I find interesting and a bit sad is all those fans following those people who are famous for nothing and don't seem to offer any useful content. Then again, why do I like The Walking Dead? Where's the useful content there besides pure entertainment?

People are strange little creatures.

Ciara said...

I think the world is going through growing pains. These are some valid points here. I've witnessed a few of them, but I think people are still on a learning curve right now.

DWei said...

Maybe for a lot of people but I don't think its really had an effect on me.

Maybe if thousands of people were reading my blog I'd think differently. :P

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

You write thoughtful and thought-provoking posts--that's why people chime in. Interaction with people who enjoy writng and reading is what I enjoy about blogging. I don't mind someone promoting their work as long as it's balanced with what else is going on. Neil Gaiman has been blogging for a decade, and I read his posts because they are entertaining and informative. Even if they're about his life, they're also about what's going on around him and what he finds fascinating.
The difference with narcissists is there is no balance, and I find that uninteresting.

Cindy Dwyer said...

I hear what you're saying. Some people forget where the line is. On a related note, I read an article lamenting that moms are "disappearing" and citing the use of their children's photos as their FB icons as the main piece of proof. I think they took that one too far, but maybe it's just me. I have my kids' photo there because I think they're cuter than me - LOL. I definitely haven't disappeared, although I wouldn't mind trying it for a few hours. :)

Juliet said...

You make some great points! I do believe social networking can change people, but with blogging as a whole, I know so many that immediately respond to a comment or visit your blog, even though it's not necessary. I definitely think some can be over the top constantly, always posting about themselves.

I loved reading your thoughts, and I think you should be very proud on how far your blog has come!

Juliet
www.apurplesky.blogspot.com

The Golden Eagle said...

Alex: I think you do a great job of balancing your own work and that of other bloggers!

Pat: You can count on cats to have a big ego . . . LOL.

Thank goodness that hasn't gone away. The blogosphere wouldn't be the same without your rhymes!

Angela: I haven't had to promote anything (yet?) but I don't think you're narcissistic. As I said, I understand creators spreading the word about their work--I just wonder about social networking in general and its effects on how we think.

Tyrean: No, I don't think it does. Narcissists are obsessed with their own stuff--and have too much pride in them.

Indeed! It's hard to find a balance between thinking about it and thinking about it too much.

I believe we all do. :)

JeffO: I'm inclined to think it does because of the individual-centric format of so much social media.

Anthony: Interesting contrast. Though I wonder, does allowing our narcissism to show more often make us more narcissistic over time?

Mark: I agree! There are a lot of advantages to social media as a method of spreading around information. My point, though, is that it does tend to spread around a lot of stuff about people, too.

Nick: Indeed. Political posts don't bother me--but some people do use them as weapons or calls for attention.

Andrew: Interesting point. It would be curious to know how a different generation would have reacted to such widespread technology like the internet.

That'd be nice . . .

Donna: Thank you!

I don't usually equate confidence with narcissism. True, narcissists have great faith in their own abilities--but certainly not all confident people are self-absorbed.

Shelly: Don't get me started on the Kardashians. -__- Ridiculous numbers of people are given attention because they don't have actual lives.

Aw, thank you!

Charles: Very true. I like to watch my blog stats, but predicting them is nigh impossible for me.

L.G.: It's still attention, though. As I understand it, narcissists will be driven by any kind of focus on them.

Mooderino: Good point!

Cynthia: I'm not saying people who self-promote are necessarily narcissists, just asking how much narcissism there is in the act of promotion and how prevalent the trait is across social media.

Anstice: That's what I was getting at by questioning narcissism in social media; there are a lot of sites that base your worth by numbers.

Jennifer: Hmm. That's an interesting point--I'm still inclined to say that sharing of personal information is motivated by some narcissism, but it's food for thought.

Susan: No way are you a narcissist! :)

Peaceful Reader: Agreed, there are plenty of individuals who maintain a balance and use social networking to positive effect.

Michael: I'm not judging you for it--the comments are open to different POVs! Just hope my mom doesn't search my blog. :P LOL.

There are some interesting things on the internet because of people's tendency to overshare, I guess, and other than porn.

The Golden Eagle said...

Liz: There definitely has been a current of narcissism throughout humanity.

Trisha: I agree, someone can be proud of what they create without being a narcissist!

That's one thing about self-publishing that scares me. I can't see myself running a marketing campaign on my own . . . even if it was for something I wrote.

Rusty: First, I'm one of that 10%! Second, yeah, I get what you mean. Follower counts aren't always indicative of actual popularity; I have over 1000 followers and there are relatively small blogs who get about three times the comments I do sometimes.

Rob-bear: That's good! If it helps you to think and makes you feel better, then that's awesome.

Those are the more interesting blogs. Blogs run by interesting people are nice, but honest posts without sugar-coating usually make me want to return more often.

Michael: I think the blogger community's nice overall, too. I'm just more skeptical of social networking in general, however.

Jamie: Agreed. It's relatively easy to tell what works and what doesn't if you're regularly putting stuff onto the internet.

Adina: What a coincidence. :)

Perhaps my opinion comes from me not being interested in sharing minutiae of life--and in reading other people's activities.

I think that's a smart approach. Only posting when you need/really want to brings up quality, IMO.

I'm glad it did!

Brinda: I do think it's different. I'm not saying self-promotion/marketing is necessarily narcissistic behavior, but social media's insistence you talk about yourself may be.

Thanks. :) I am!

Jessica: Indeed. But is the need for that kind of talk just to make a ripple on the web essentially narcissistic?

Paul: True, I don't think narcissistic sites last as long as the less self-centered ones. Narcissists can get tiring even for the public, I suppose!

Thanks for the words about my blog. :) I don't believe you are narcissistic about your social media, either--quite the contrary!

Karen: It'll always be a part of society . . .

Mark: I like your attitude! That's how I started out, too; trying to hold onto the sense of "I'm posting my own content, and if someone likes it then that's fabulous. But not a defining factor". You know?

Hilary: Yes, it's nice to be able to walk away from a site. And no one even knows you were ever there if you just look for a while.

The lack of stopping and thinking is part of what I was getting at.

Thank you very much!

Julia: Indeed. It has a lot of power--both to bring out the good things in society (as Mark Noce pointed out) and the more negative.

Amanda: I'm impressed with your comment! No worries--I love long comments and I'm glad I could bring out so much interesting discussion. :)

And I see what you're getting at (I think). Social media could just be a lens for innate human traits--a way for people to express what they've already been carrying around and something that has been a constant throughout society.

I hadn't thought of celebrities that way. Narcissists are characterized by overblown egos--but if someone is super-famous, that does mean a lot of people pay attention to them and probably think highly of them.

Mshatch: I think your last sentence sums up the entire post and comment section. :)

Ciara: Yeah, it will be interesting to see what the world is like 20, 50, 100 years down the road.

DWei: I guess you never really know until you experience fame . . . which I kind of hope never to do, at least not with too many people.

Tricia: Thank you for saying that. :)

I really like Neil Gaiman's posts, too. He's a really interesting person.

Same here!

Cindy: Who wouldn't? Disappearing off the grid for a while could be fun . . . :)

Juliet: Thanks!

There are a lot of nice people on the internet, I agree. You're one of them!

Medeia Sharif said...

I think many people share their true selves and are humble and willing to help others out, but I do come across pages that are strictly self-promotional. Maybe a few people buy into that, but it comes across as cold and boring to me.

Bonnee Crawford said...

Social media can certainly have it's affect. I find it most noticeable on facebook when people are all like 'like my status for a rate' and stuff like that. I wouldn't necessarily call it narcissism, but there is a definite cry for attention and want for popularity. And when someone receives the attention and popularity they are after, THAT can tap into narcissism.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

One of my friends fell to this. I had to stop following her on Twitter because it became too much. I quit my local writing group because it became too much. I'm just glad I didn't follow her back on FB when she first followed me. Rumor has it she was just as bad there.

Jay Noel said...

I think narcissism isn't as prevalent in the blogging world. Facebook, however, is full of them. People post ONLY the positive great stuff (99% of the time), and I read three studies: one that talked about narcissism and specific FB activities (changing profile pics all the time, 700+ friends, etc)., one that talked about an increase in narcissism among college kids, and how people are depressed reading all the positive stuff on FB and comparing it to their real lives.

Nas said...

Narcissism do go hand in hand on facebook and twitter. But yes, to a certain extent, on blogs too.!

Deborah Walker said...

A fascinating subject, Eagle. I just think of social media as an opportunity for conversation. And for a long time I was talking to myself!

The Golden Eagle said...

Medeia: It doesn't appeal to me, either. If a book sounds interesting I'll check it out, but a narcissistic author won't help.

Bonnee: It certainly helps feed the fire!

Stina: I'm sorry to hear about your friend. I don't know anyone who's become self-centered because of social media; it's sad to hear of it happening.

Jay: More reasons I'm glad I'm not on Facebook. :P

Nas: I haven't come across a great deal of it; I'm more looking at social networking as a whole.

Deborah: Same here! I think most people start out small.

Searching for the Story said...

My take on it is that social media has only provided a new platform for individuals who would have been narcissistic anyway.

Most Facebook users, for instance, have accounts just so they can keep in touch with their friends and family. There is a significant subset of people, however, who wish to have a "fan base" despite having done nothing noteworthy. They want the world to celebrate them as if adulation is their birth-right.

That phenomenon seems more pronounced on Twitter. Facebook, at least, is about facilitating conversation and functions a lot like an online mixer. Twitter is just a digital megaphone.

The Golden Eagle said...

Searching for the Story: I find it interesting to read different people's comparisons of social media sites. I wonder what drives the differences--to me, there seems to be a lot of overlap.

Can't say any of this makes me want to join Twitter or Facebook. :P