Is Social Media a Platform for Narcissists?

Narcissism on social mediaOver time, I’ve been seeing more articles and blog posts cropping up that broach the topic of social media and narcissism.  Here’s just one of the latest examples.

The issue boils down to this:

  • Do social media platforms cause people to become narcissistic?
  • Or is social media merely a conduit by which people who already possess narcissistic tendencies get to indulge in “self-referential behavior” on steroids?

One could probably start at the very beginning:  Is Mark Zuckerberg a narcissist?”    (Don’t answer that question!)

My own view is somewhat conflicted.  I see evidence of some people who cheerfully relish the bullhorn – and attention – that social media appears to give them.

But social media can be deceiving in that a “personal environment” can be built that seems like the whole world is watching and listening – but in reality it’s just a constructed edifice more akin to a Potemkin village.

How many people are actually reading anyone’s Twitter posts?    (Don’t answer that question!)

But I can also see clear evidence of some of the more “Type B” people I know who have made quite an impact on social media by virtue of some very impressive contributions – written information, videos, photography, etc.

In those cases, social media has been a way to extend influence well beyond a small circle of friends or colleagues – and far more than could ever be possible before.

How about you?  What are your thoughts on this topic and what have you observed?  Please share them here if you’re so inclined.

(Don’t worry, we won’t accuse you of narcissism!)

3 thoughts on “Is Social Media a Platform for Narcissists?

  1. An old Nashville aristocrat once quipped that you should be in the newspaper only three times in your life: when you are born, when you get married, and when you die.

    Now we want to share every banal event in our lives with everybody we know—and some we don’t — the moment it happens.

    Whether constant Tweeting and FB posting qualifies as narcissism I don’t know. But the more time we spend chattering about mundane things, the less time we have to work, read, or think about other things that deserve our attention.

    Social media is like the neighbor who keeps showing up at the door wanting to visit — you know, the person who has nothing to do and all day long to do it. It makes it hard to accomplish the things we need to get done.

    Interestingly, many of the most successful people I know (who aren’t in the media/marketing/showbiz business) don’t have FB pages. And as far as I know, they don’t Tweet.

    But they do set their own agendas. They make things happen. And they don’t seem to care what others think. They certainly don’t feel the need to continually call attention to themselves — on- or offline.

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