I was discussing social networking with a friend the other day and narcissism came up. And by came up, I mean she thinks that social networking leads/contributes to narcissism. So. I decided to blog about it.
So. Maybe I should start by defining narcissism. According to merriam-webster.com, narcissism is egoism or egocentrism. Now. I had to define those words, as well. Egoism is the “excessive concern for oneself with or without exaggerated feelings of self-importance.” Egocentrism means you are “concerned with the individual rather than society” or “limited in outlook or concern to one’s own activities or needs.” Webster used the words “selfish” and “self-centered” in one of the definitions of egocentrism.
Now. It is healthy and normal (whatever that is) to have some level of self-interest, self-preservation, etc. So. When does that become an unhealthy level? How do sites like Facebook and MySpace contribute to our own self-interest? What about blogging? Now. I might be tempted to say, “well. it depends what you are blogging about.” But does it really? Even if I’m not blogging about myself and my daily activities, isn’t there some level of egocentrism to think that others care what I think? Maybe. But is this wrong? Is this unhealthy? Hmm.
I have to admit that there are times when I post a new status to Facebook anticipating all of the comments I’ll receive. Don’t lie. You do it, too. But. Are we not social creatures? Were we not made to live in community with our kind? Yes. But when does it become too much?
Probably when we stop caring about others. I like Facebook because I feel like I get to be a part of peoples’ lives from miles away. And, yes. I get to share a little bit of my life with them, too.
I think the bigger issue with social networking is not that it is contributing to a narcissistic society, but that it is devaluing communication. So. While I don’t think that people who blog or have a Facebook or MySpace page have a narcissistic personality, I do not care for a play-by-play of your day. With that. I’m going to go take a shower and then I’m going to have a bowl of fruit loops with 1/2 a cup of skim milk and then…