A generation of narcissists?

Hello readers! I want to jump right in and explain why I am choosing to blog about how social media can lead individuals toward narcissism and self-obsession. First, I want to clarify that I do not feel social media is only affecting my generation and younger. I think that whoever participates in social media usage is subject to its affects, whether they are positive or negative. I also believe that it is certainly possible to maintain a strong social media presence without feeling self-obsessed or hoping for that instant gratification that many individuals feel when searching for “likes” on a post. I simply think that people are subconsciously feeling internal expectations and anticipations when participating in social media. Whether the source is Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter, in my opinion, most people post and then wait to view outsiders’ reactions. To say that this anticipation is positive or negative is not up to me. However, I just feel that this feeling and waiting is a new sensation because of the recent social media trend.

I recently read an article from TIME, which discusses the possibility of a new generation of people being full of narcissists. I was really fascinated with this article because it did not automatically label an entire generation “narcissists”, like so many critics of technology seem to do. Rather, the writer, Peggy Drexler, explains, “Narcissism is, after all, a personality disorder defined by all kinds of nasty behaviors: exploiting others, envy, lack of empathy and an insatiable hunger for attention. It’s a pretty judgmental label to hang on someone who might be happy with him- or herself.” I definitely agree, because I don’t think that everyone feels so self absorbed. I read more about Peggy Drexler, and learned that she  has a Ph.D in psychology. It definitely makes me want to explore the psychological factors of social media trends. She also proposed another interesting point that I think many people fail to see. What if Facebook and other social media sites are not meant to fulfill an individual’s sense of self-esteem with him or herself? Could it just help with recognizing oneself and becoming more aware of who you are on an online presence? Drexler asserts, “Facebook builds self-esteem because it gives us the chance to present our best selves; because posting on Facebook allows us to examine ourselves in relation to others, it’s actually a tool of self-awareness.” Her point creates a place for questions, and further observation about the actual affects of social media usage. It opened my mind to the possibilities that social media can be used more than just a tool to express yourself for other people to see. Perhaps, it is a tool expressed for your own self, as an internal view of your individuality. Maybe, social media can actually help, and encourage a sense of individualism and self-identity, that was difficult to assess prior to the Internet. I do not know for certain, but these are great points that I hope to explore further.

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2 thoughts on “A generation of narcissists?

  1. I enjoyed reading this post as I too have seen the trend of narcism and individual gratification from social media. All of the platforms are supporting this, as the “like” button serves as much more than a simple click, it is psychological reassurance. The article you referenced from writer, Peggy Drexler, shows how psychological social media has truly become. I was interested to read that Facebook is also a tool where individuals can compare themselves to others. Although I hadn’t previously thought of Facebook in that fashion, it makes sense. By being constantly aware of what others are doing through pictures, text-posts, or videos, an individual can develop their own sense of self awareness. However, I wonder if this self-awareness is unhealthy and is causing negative development of the youth. In future posts it could be interesting to explore how the youth is being directly effected by the narcissistic culture.

  2. This was a great post filled with many important points that our society often overlooks. I liked the idea of narcissism not applying to every single social media user, as is often portrayed these days. I also enjoyed how you mentioned the fact that not only young people are obsessed with social media, which I can definitely back up with the amount of moms that I am friends with on Facebook who utilize it way more than I do. Overall, great post and I look forward to reading more of them!

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