A quick Google search for the term narcissist turns up an article called How to Spot a Narcissist. The first line is:
At the core of extreme narcissism is egotistical preoccupation with self, personal preferences, aspirations, needs, success, and how he/she is perceived by others.
A work in progress – becoming a narcissist with the help of my friends
I have noticed a new breed of narcissist developing. Now, I want to be clear here – I am not a psychologist. Despite my lack of a background in psychology (except for Psych 205 in university, where I did get an A), I have decided to term this new breed of narcissisim as the socially-acceptable narcissistic order. It is not a disorder (therefore, it must be an order) because it is actually encouraged by society, thus the socially-acceptable label.
I think it all started with MySpace where normal individuals tried to look like porn stars in their profile pictures. Holding the camera up with one hand and making pouty lips was seen as the proper way to take a profile picture. This trend slowly made its way over to Facebook as well. Eventually, people got bored with this. The status updates started become the main way to show just how amazing you are. A friend of mine recently posted this as his status update (it has been edited for length):
arrived in London exactly ONE YEAR AGO today. It was a long-standing goal of mine to live abroad for at least a year before turning thirty and today, I achieved that goal. There was a brief period early on where I wasn’t sure I’d make it, but I have manifested far more in the last year than I believed possible. London offers opportunities and culture that greatly enriches my life — plus I’m constantly meeting really interesting, proactive people.
Being proud of your accomplishments is one thing, but now it is socially acceptable to rub them in everyone else’s face. If I didn’t know I was so darn awesome, I might feel self-conscious after reading such an update. Lucky for all of us, we all now know we are darn awesome because we can post updates such as the example above and our friends will post thoughtful comments on them or “like” them to tell us that we are on the right path and doing well in life. As Lois Leung reports in his research, “the prevalence of narcissistic individuals on Facebook might lead to a rise in narcissistic behavior among users in general, if such behavior were to be viewed as acceptable” (2013, p. 1005).
The newest app developed to aid in socially-acceptable narcissistic order is called instaweatherpro. The photo I posted of myself is a perfect (if I do say so myself) example of the order in action. Not only do I feel the need to post a photo of myself (doing absolutely nothing of interest to anyone), but I need them to know exactly where I am, what time it is, and what the weather is like where I am. How much more narcissistic does it get than that?!
However, that being said, I don’t necessarily see it is an entirely bad thing. It is fun to share in your friends’ triumphs with them and to have them share in yours. I don’t need friends to know every little detail of my life, but some people may want that, so now it is easier than ever for them to let people know of everything they do, eat, see, etc.
Even my cat is starting to become a narcissist!
While instagram is still a very important social media network in the development of narcissists, I truly believe that the additional apps that work with it such as instaweatherpro are more useful when it comes to helping to develop socially-acceptable narcissistic order because these add-ons take the customization of information to a new level. I don’t want to just post photos and use hastags and comments, I want to customize the photo to show exactly where I am, what I am doing, what the weather is like, and point out that I am totally unique, all at the same time. The whole point of going on a vacation is take countless photos to make your friends jealous of your amazing life. This is obvious hyperbole but the question remains: is social media use helping us to develop a positive self-perception or is it encouraging narcissim?
Please share your opinion in the comments section.
Louis Leung, Generational differences in content generation in social media: The roles of the gratifications sought and of narcissism, Computers in Human Behavior, Volume 29, Issue 3, May 2013, Pages 997-1006, ISSN 0747-5632, 10.1016/j.chb.2012.12.028. (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0747563212003706)