This Just In: Facebook Narcissism!
This study apparently shows that Facebook profiles can reveal narcissism. Really? Narcissism? On Facebook? Hard to believe, isn’t it? Sometimes when I see this kind of study I think that there should be a journal for these things, something like JPHO, or “Journal for the Proof of the Hopelessly Obvious” or something like that. It amazes me the money people get to run certain studies (This just in! Stop the Presses! Studies prove that breathing extends life!).
In any event, it was my own realization of this sort of thing (the narcissism that Facebook facilitates) that led me to seriously begin disliking it sometime ago (after a short period of interest). I have no interest in reading anyone’s profile anymore, because I’m afraid of learning just how deep the psychological insecurities of particular people extend. So I just strive to remain ignorant (although it’s amazing how easily a person’s narcissism can be revealed through never-ending “status updates”).
This is not a “back in the day” musing — I’m not claiming that there’s “more” narcissism now than there was years ago (typical old curmudgeon claim — “back when I was young“). That amount is, I suspect, the same. But Facebook not only creates more and more ways for people to over-indulge in self-absorption, it also is dangerous in that it is like a megaphone that now allows a person to communicate his or her narcissism or various other neuroses to an ever larger audience of people. I suppose there was a time when you embarassed yourself in front of your freinds only (the ones you physically met on a day to day basis); then it was possible to embarass yourself in front of a larger group of people you don’t see through the phone, and now you can do it in front of hundreds or thousands through Facebook.
And yes, I’m aware of the fact that blogging can serve as a platform for the same thing, but social networking has some unique features, I think, that can really facilitate narcissism and and allow its presence to really become public phenomena in a very new way.