Social media can equally be celebrated for re-creating community bonds as it can be blamed for pushing individuals further and further from each other. But is this growing narrative display a spirit of self-awareness or does it become more prone to error and exaggeration?
Two key factors of narcissistic behaviour include exaggerated self-appraisal and unreasonable personal standards alas often it is the case that the culture of the social media network user is conducive to rampant self promotion, as users become accustomed to a small sense of fulfilment their urge of acceptance is accommodated by a simple ‘like’, ‘Love-heart’, ‘share’ or ‘tweet’ the desire manifests in real world anxiety, even reports of depression as users posts fail to achieve expected popularity. (Forbes, 2015 ) There is even an emerging market of services existing to alleviate this dread, with users being able to purchase page views, video plays and followers of every variety although this pertains a fleeting sensation and come with certain risk as many of these services are being exposed as scams and social media networks seek to limit their influence (ABC News, 2014).
Individuals susceptible to these tendencies seek greater and greater recognition as with-in virtual circles many of the physical interactions that ultimately restrain behaviour vanish. Delusions of grandeur, narcissism, viciousness, impulsivity, and juvenile behaviour for some users rise to the surface. In his book “Virtually You” Elias Aboujaoude observes “the traits we take on online can become incorporated in our offline personalities.” Just as members of a crowd become swept along by others’ emotions, the same thing can happen to us when we get swept up in a virtual Internet herd mentality as demonstrated by the viral nature of internet phenomenon from selfies to leaking private documents and images.
Social media is an important part of life in the 21st century, whether to promote your business, stay in touch with old friends or connect with new people thus unfortunately narcissistic trends are often flaunted towards everyday users but it is important to maintain perspective, not let narcissistic bias interfere with your standards. Professor Jean Twenge distinguishes narcissistic traits from the concept of self esteem, “Somebody high in self-esteem values individual achievement, but they also value their relationships and caring for others,’ she says. ‘Narcissists are missing that piece about valuing, caring and their relationships, so they tend to lack empathy, they have poor relationship skills. That’s one of the biggest differences, those communal and caring traits tend to be high in most people with self-esteem but not among those who are high in narcissism.” (Twenge, 2009) The former is how we think we appear to others whilst the latter is how we appear to ourselves although it can be difficult to distinguish the two as humans are naturally social beings it can be the case that these two perspectives are not always in synch, recognizing things posted online are to be taken with a grain of salt is often an important first step to self actualisation.
ABC News. (2014). Facebook users warned against buying ‘likes’ from Indian click farms to boost popularity. The World Today .
Forbes. (2015 , April). http://www.forbes.com/. Retrieved from Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2015/04/08/new-study-links-facebook-to-depression-but-now-we-actually-understand-why/
Twenge, J. (2009). The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement. ATRIA.