Narcissism and Social Networking

Has social networking turned us into narcissists or has it simply fed off the narcissistic qualities humans naturally have? Chances are, nobody really cares about the status updates you post on Facebook (with the exception of your closest friends and relatives). Because we broadcast something out into the Internet, we think that someone will respond. But in reality, we’re throwing a tiny particle out into a sea of billions of tiny particles, hoping to be noticed.

I remember, back in the good old days of MySpace, there was something called “pc4pc” which stood for “photo comment for photo comment.” It was used as a caption under photos of oneself in order to solicit comments (they could be positive or negative, but most of the time, it would be something insincerely positive). The “pc4pc” rule obligated you to then comment on a photo of the person who commented on yours. Basically, an attention-getting, “notice me!” kind of scheme.

Because of our human nature, we want to stand out from the crowd. We want to be popular, admired, and noticed. We want everyone to read our blogs and perhaps our secret desire is to become a blogging celebrity like Perez Hilton or Arianna Huffington. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s one thing to blog because we love it and quite another thing to blog solely because we crave attention and self-aggrandizement.

It’s the same with Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, or any other social networking site. We shouldn’t be on there to be boastful and arrogant, expecting everyone to pay attention to every picture and status update we post. After all, (this is a favorite maxim of mine) people, by and large, are mainly interested in themselves.

I think that social networking hasn’t turned us into narcissists, but has inflated our already self-absorbed qualities. So the next time you plan to post something on Facebook or Twitter, think about whether anyone is actually going to care… or if you’re just posting it for yourself.

Edit: (3/20/2012) Auburn Berry from Newsy sent me a link to an interesting video regarding Facebook and narcissism. Below is the embedded video:

http://www.newsy.com/embed-video/12007/

From Xanga to MySpace to Facebook

The evolution of social networking has always fascinated me. I still remember the “good old days” of high school (around 2005 or so) when everyone started using this thing called Xanga (pronounced “zanga”). You could start your own online journal, connect with your friends in groups called “blogrings”, comment on their journals, and give them something called “eProps” (similar to the “like” button on Facebook) if they posted something you particularly enjoyed. Everyone was “up in everyone else’s business.”

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Then there was the mass migration to MySpace around 2006/2007. I think everyone left Xanga because it was mostly a platform for blogging and writing journal entries. A lot of the people I knew who had been on Xanga really didn’t like to write whole entries. They’d write a few lines and that would be it. MySpace offered a whole new array of services: blogging, posting pictures, comments, and a profile that utilized HTML and was therefore 100% customizable (not like Xanga’s pre-designed templates). MySpace just had more. There wasn’t so much of a focus on blogging and writing.

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Then Facebook came about and took over the Internet. In late 2008 and early 2009, everyone was starting to get on Facebook. I think we were all tired of ugly, cluttered MySpace profiles – people abused the HTML feature and added so much stuff that each MySpace profile would take ages to load. Facebook was a much simpler and cleaner interface and had many of the same features as MySpace. It didn’t seem as time-consuming as MySpace because there was no HTML code you could add and no customizable layouts. As more and more people discovered Facebook and created profiles, the more time-consuming it became. There were more friends to check up on, more pictures to be uploaded, more profiles to stalk… and Facebook added games.

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Now it feels like we can’t live without social networking in some form. It’s become one of the primary ways we communicate with friends and those who live far from us. Kids as young as 12 have never really known life without social media. Everyone knows what everyone else is up to and we can all be found online in some capacity. That’s a little scary.

How much of your life do you share online? Is social media an annoyance, useful, or both? What social media platform did you start with? Which is your favorite? 🙂

To Facebook or Not to Facebook… That is the Question

It’s been nearly three months since I completely deleted my Facebook page – not deactivated, but totally deleted it. For all I know, the information I’ve posted on there is still floating somewhere in the abyss of the Internet, but at this point I don’t care. I deleted my page because I was tired of reading drama-filled posts, tired of narcissism (so I got my own blog, haha!), and tired of people pretending to be my friend online when they haven’t spoken to me in years in real life.

I’m very happy to be off Facebook, for the most part. The one thing that bothers me about my deleted account is not that my true friends can’t get in touch with me (they’ve all got my email address, and the ones who are really my friends have my phone number), but that Facebook is becoming as ubiquitous as the cell phone.

If you’ve read previous posts in this blog, you already know that I’m probably the only 22-year-old American alive who does not have one. Now that I don’t have a Facebook, I feel totally out of the loop, but as I said, not in terms of friends, but…

in terms of job seeking. I’ve applied to lots of jobs where a certain portion of them (because they’re entry level) require the candidate to update and maintain Facebook, Twitter, or blog pages. My guess is that many employers assume (and rightly so) that young, entry-level candidates are fluent in social media – especially Facebook. (As far as I knew, the vast majority of my Facebook friends did not have Twitter pages, and if they did have them, they didn’t update on a regular basis.)

I would still consider myself pretty fluent in social media. I know my way around Facebook’s complicated privacy settings, I know how to write on others’ Walls, create notes, put up events, etc. I have a Twitter, I obviously use this site, I’ve been on LiveJournal and similar sites for over four years (although I’ve rarely seen a company that requires its candidates to know LJ), I can still tinker around with MySpace (again, I’ve rarely seen companies that utilize it), I once had a Tumblr (but migrated here), and I’m signed up with Blogger.

My biggest worry is that I’ll be required to have a Facebook page. In some ways, I do want one, if only to develop a professional image and perhaps market myself as an author when I’ve actually got some finished stuff to market. (That will be a long time coming – it’s a big work-in-progress.)

I wonder when the day will come that having a Facebook (or other social networking site) will be a requirement for all jobs. I’ve already seen jobs where having a cell phone is an absolute requirement…

Perhaps I should bite the bullet and get in line with technology – buy a cell phone with a relatively inexpensive plan (I don’t need text messaging – or do I?), and start a new Facebook page. Or maybe I’ll just wait and see if perhaps the whole social media phenomenon will just fizzle out of its own accord… we’ll see how it goes!

To all who bothered to read – have a great day and feel free to leave any comments you might have!