Facebook wall, who’s the fairest of them all?

“Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?”. This perhaps is the most famous line one can remember from the classic, Snow White.

And as years and generations pass by, this line from the fairy tale that was the first-ever cartoon shown on silver screen has been proven never to be obsolete and has evolved to be applicable to new social media today, particularly social networking sites.

In August 30 2010, an article was published in CNN.com that says:

Facebook, indeed, reinforces narcissism to some users who love ‘broadcasting’ themselves. Narcissism is defined by Wikipedia.org as “the personality trait of egotism, vanity, conceit, or simple selfishness”.Β  In fact, there is a personality disturbance in psychology distinguished as narcissistic personality disorder which is considered to be a mental disorder as well.

The beautiful yet vain queen and her magic mirror (from Snow White) photo credit: http://www.squidoo.com

As youth becomes addicted to Facebook, it can be said that they have more and strong tendency on becoming narcissistic. The advent of new social media emphasized even more the ‘me-generation’. Since everyone can speak up their minds in the Internet, everyone has the chance to project themselves in whatever way they want to. And in this sense, no one sets the limit. In my opinion, the following can be said to characterize narcissistic tendencies among Facebook users:

  1. having a profile picture of a person’sΒ  face occupying the entire photo or a picture with that person’s ‘best’ pose
  2. having hundreds of photos in one album (and those pictures are taken from a single location with the person just changing the camera’s angle; with one single smile or facial expression most of the time)
  3. having boastful posts or statuses
  4. changing a status every second trying hard to catch the attention ofΒ  those who are online (it’s like: ‘I’m drinking an awesome juice my boyfriend made for me. *a second later* ‘Finished drinking the juice blah blah blah…)
  5. giving harsh or not so favorable comments to others’ posts
  6. changing profile picture almost everyday
  7. having other messages, status, or comments that imply selfishness or too much self-glorification

I may have missed other of those symptoms but one thing is true: new social media impact people, particularly the youth, beyond monitors.

By the way, do you think you are an online Narcissus?


8 responses

  1. First of all, I think I am NOT an online Narcissus. πŸ™‚
    I think the trend (people broadcasting themselves to their network of “friends”) is not only present on social networking sites but also in the realm of text messaging (oh, I don’t know what to call it :). People who always send group messages to tell what they are doing at the moment are similar to those sns users who update their status message every single minute, or second. Sometimes, they are irritating, but maybe we could try to be more understanding. Perhaps, they are just gratifying their need to be express themselves and be noticed by other people.:)

    September 2, 2010 at 4:00 PM

    • Hi Jen! πŸ™‚

      I hate to admit it but when I was new to Facebook, I could not stop but to think of how to make my profile highly noticeable. I am coming to think if this issue is ‘innate’ in Facebook as it brings out narcissistic tendencies. If this is true enough, then this poses a new problem for users in terms of self-control and providing themselves limit and discipline.

      P.S. After months of using FB, I learned how to detach myself from it although it’s the first website I go to upon connecting to the Net. Haha

      September 2, 2010 at 7:23 PM

  2. Karen

    I’ve been wanting to post something like this in my first few entries, but (obviously) I never managed to write one. Hehe. So forgive me for this lengthy comment.

    Anyway, I think narcissism is inherent in any social networking site. To a certain extent, we could also say that these social networking sites are online popularity contests.

    Remember, Friendster? Back then, Friendster users seem to have a contest on who has the most number of friends. Some even create a second, third, or even a fourth account to accomodate new friend requests. But the problem with Friendster is the lack of interaction. All you could do is update your shoutout and receive testimonials, which reminds of me of another popular “Igawa mo naman ako ng testimonial, please. Yung mahaba a! Gagagawan din kita.” Haha! I know we’re all guilty of this. πŸ™‚ We want to have more testimonials because we want to look good to other people (who wouldn’t look good with those you-are-a-great-kind-of-friend testimonials then?), and somehow, to be popular (the kid with 1000+ testimonial wins the game). This testimonial thing was the best feature of Friendster, IMO; but things changed when a better and more interactive (and more narcissistic)SNS came.

    FACEBOOK. I think this SNS is not primarily about the I-have-4000+-friends attitude of users because from my observation most users seem to have an average of 100 to 300 contacts — which is acceptable because the target users of Facebook are the working individuals and to have this number of contacts is necessary for corporate networking and such). But Facebook caters to another type of popularity contest — the LIKE contest. When users post something and it immediately receives around 10-30 likes, it makes them feel like they’re Facebook King or Queen. Or makes them think, “Hey, I posted something that sparked the interest of my contacts”; thereby, motivating them to post other witty status messages. And yes, I WAS guilty of this. Back then, I even spend some time thinking how I could better phrase a thought so it would spark conversations (thru the comment box) and generate a considerable number of likes. Sometimes when we experience something funny or interesting, you would immediately think “Hey, this is interesting! I could post this as a status message later!” Hahaha, admit it or not, I know we’re all guilty of these strategies.

    Yes, SNS gives us some sense of pride and confidence because of things like receiving testimonials and comments and a number of likes. Social networking sites make us feel that we are liked well enough by the people we know, and I think this is why social networking is such a hit.

    September 3, 2010 at 5:28 PM

  3. I am also not an online Narcissus. πŸ™‚

    I actually have a negative perception towards these Narcissistic people who I don’t personally know. I have this reflexive equation in mind about them.

    online Narcissism = lowly

    I think that this is inevitable for some people because they have no other way of expressing themselves and attracting attention at the same time but by online means. As we all know, there is freedom on the Internet. We can project an image which is different from our image in the physical realm. We are co-equals here. So even if there are blatant criticisms about one’s online Narcissism, there are no policies in these SNS that prohibit excessive face exposure in one’s account. Therefore, it cannot be stopped. The choice is still in the person. Values still apply online. I think, we must still have delicadeza so as not to irritate other netizens. While irritable people must compromise to these acts.

    September 4, 2010 at 11:57 PM

  4. I do love Facebook. πŸ™‚ But I know how to manage. It’s with the intention that separates narcissus ones from those who are not.

    It’s human nature to have a need to belong, socialize and express who they are and what they feel. There is nothing wrong about that for as long as they are not being irritable or harmful to others.

    Facebook has given me so much benefits. It was my online way of relating to my networks, sighing my thoughts for the day and being updated with the latest happenings on earth! πŸ˜€

    Again, it’s just with the manner of managing how one uses Facebook. πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

    September 20, 2010 at 1:19 PM

  5. I don’t think that the new social media caused these Narcissus… (how do you pluralize that?) haha anyway as I was saying, I don’t think Facebook made them the way they are now. I think that naturally they are one. I believe that people who aren’t narcissistic is far from being one because they are aware of what is acceptable online, and of narcissism. So they wouldn’t fall into that.

    September 29, 2010 at 8:15 PM

  6. blahblahblogsheet

    I believe that facebook gave them the avenue to shout all those narcissistic tendencies people are hiding. As I have said in one of my blogs that new social media have formed the “Generation Me” in which almost everything you do in social media sites are all about yourself. Just look at youtube’s tagline, “Broadcast Yourself”

    October 2, 2010 at 6:45 PM

  7. I think that narcissism in SNS is not caused by having an SNS page. I think people who are narcissistic in SNS are already narcissistic on their own and SNS just became a channel for them to come out.

    October 2, 2010 at 11:27 PM

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