Do you have tonnes of Facebook friends? Won’t think twice about accepting a friend request from a stranger? Constantly updating your status and leaving a plethora of comments on your friends’ walls? Change your profile picture every two days or so?
Be careful – you could very well be a narcissist, a new study shows, who uses Facebook as your platform to perform.
There is no doubt that social media networks have given us a new way to share news with friends regardless of geographic location. Whether it is something as insignificant as to what we ate for breakfast or good news like a marriage announcement, these platforms have enabled us to ‘shout’ it out loud, if you may, over the Internet.
But with this comes a generation of narcissists. According to a research done by Western Illinois University, there is a direct link between socially disruptive narcissistic behaviour with an individual’s Facebook usage. The study, titled Narcissism on 'Facebook: Self-Promotional and Anti-Social Behavior', linked that the more engaged you are on Facebook – whether it is updating your status or accepting friend requests, even from strangers – the higher the chance is that you are a narcissist.
Says study author Chris Carpenter, “People who have a heightened need to feel good about themselves will often turn to Facebook as a way to do so. Facebook gives those with narcissistic tendencies the opportunity to exploit the site to get the feedback they need and become the centre of attention.” The study also found that this group of Facebook users was more likely to take offence as nasty remarks make about themselves.
Before you say "No, not me!", look back at your own Facebook profile picture. Chances are it is one where you look the most presentable, right? The thing is everyone is guilty of being a Facebook narcissist. When you are in control of how you ‘sell’ yourself to others, why would you want to highlight the bad when you can showcase the good? The only difference is to what extent one will go to ‘promote’ themselves to all their friends (yes, even all 1,034 of them).
For the Facebook narcissist, it is all monitoring their appearance and presenting themselves in ways they want to be perceived by their friends. Want to appear flashy? Post up a photo of your latest designer buys. Want friends to be jealous of your happening life? Make sure your status updates are all about the fabulous parties and events you’re attending. Even if you are not, make it up!
So what’s wrong with putting that bright spotlight on yourself once in a while? Nothing, if you like the idea of having low self-esteem too. Another study on social media’s impact presented that a Facebook narcissist is more likely to be an unhappy person as narcissistic qualities are often linked with low self-esteem. The study from York University in Canada suggested that those who scored higher a narcissism test they prepared checked their Facebook pages more often each day than those who did not. The same study also suggested that those with low self-esteem also checked their Facebook pages more regularly.
Coincidence? Maybe but like someone with low self-esteem, narcissists crave for admiration and an exaggerated sense of self-importance. Which is why they don’t mind accepting friend requests from strangers (anyone is better than no one, right?). And is more likely to use first-person pronouns such as ‘I’ and ‘me’ on Facebook, says Carpenter.
Narcissist or not, the 500 million Facebook users (and counting) will continue to indulge in a little bit of show-off time. Because somewhere, sometime, someone is reading that status update or leaving a comment in that Photo-shopped photo.
What do you think? Is Facebook the ideal platform for narcissism? Put it up on your status update!
Are you a Facebook narcissist?By Mel Sim | Yahoo Newsroom – Wed, May 9, 2012 4:29 PM MYT
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