Monday, November 1, 2010

Social Media & Narcissism

At work with several of my co-workers a few weeks ago, one of our not so regular attendees stated that according to a recent study, anyone who has a Facebook page is a narcissist.  I was completely taken aback by this comment and quickly responded with "That's ridiculous!  Everyone has a Facebook page.  I feel that you are attacking me and all of my "Friends"!"  I was confused why my other co-workers didn't say anything when they have Facebook pages as well.  It's possible that they were afraid to be marked as narcissists by the non narcissist at the table.  I then commented that maybe people who felt the need to post their constant comings and goings might be narcissists, but in general, Facebook is merely a way for keeping in touch.  She argued with me  "No, the study says you are all narcissists."

Of course, being the curious input person that I am, I googled the "study" in question.  Needless to say,  this co-worker mis-communicated the results of the study, which is a pet peeve of mine. What the study states is that constant posters may be narcissists.  Period. Point blank.  And who doesn't know that?  I do not care that you just nicked your leg while shaving unless the situation escalates to a major infection or that your dog seemed to enjoy the new brand of canned food you brought home this evening- and neither does anyone else.  But I do care when you have something amazing to share like the fact that you are having an art show and I never even knew you were an artist.  I do care that you for whatever reason have decided to take up cooking spectacular meals and you post pictures of your creations.  I also love to learn that many people I know have the most wicked sense of humors.  Call it self promotion, relaxation, or whatever, but I find it interesting and I don't see the big deal of spending an hour on Facebook as opposed to an hour in front of the tube watching Keeping up with the Kardashians (if you're really talented though you can do both).

In my recent desire to create a blog I had to consider if by doing this I was somehow a narcissist.  My answer is "No".  Blogging or posting allows us all to a certain extent to be authors and writers without having to go through the rigmarole of finding an editor and a publisher.  We can all get published with the quickness of clicking "Post".  I find us all to be no more or less narcissistic than the countless authors who's books line the shelves at libraries and stores or who's columns we follow.  They too shared their art with the world and possibly all wanted an audience, otherwise why get published?

Add to it that one of my favorite online magazines, The Atlantic, posted the results of a study that attempted to learn who we social media participants are and guess what?  We're the cream of the crop.  We are highly educated, artistic, high earning people.  We live in the best cities in the country and we work at the best companies and/or are trailblazing entrepreneurs.

And I end this by saying... I still have not a single follower on my blog, but I'm going to keep posting because I'd like to improve my writing skills and I don't care that my material isn't being read...yet.  Now when I improve and publish a book, my feelings will be hurt if no one reads it, but I don't think that has the least bit to do with narcissism.

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