Thursday, March 18, 2010

Are Social Networking Sites Making Us More Narcissistic?

The trick to survival in this vast virtual net that we are entangled with is to be a narcissist. Look at the social networking sites from Twitter to Facebook from Blogger to Orkut and you will know exactly what I am talking about. The generation X and their over intellectual ways of converting every minuscule details of their lives into legible fonts posted with great gusto on their social networking site pages. Gone are the days of keeping a leather bound journal and hiding your emotions in it, it is now time to set your sentiments free.

Let's start off our discussion with blogging. A blog is a must-have fashion accessory like that earring you got to pair with the little black dress hanging in your closet. A blog allows you to write your feelings, emotions and even infinitesimal personal stuff with great dexterity; people even take important life decisions in their blogs-- it is like a virtual diary open for everyone to read. And not just reading, your readers can actually comment on your ideas and give you lengthy words of advice in case you might need them. Leave it or take it if you will but you cannot deny the importance a blog. In it you are like the center of one whole universe where your readers are your satellites reading your moves or in other words, watching you. One may say that indeed it is a tad bit weird to have people talk about one’s personal matters, well, that's how it works; if you are an introvert or if you are scared of letting people know your whereabouts then the virtual world will deny you its active citizenship because one way or the other the only thing you do every time you enter this world is update your status quo. No doubt we could all use a little personal corner in this net-world, it does feel good at the end of the day that when in real life you might not be having all the attention you need or deserve, in this blogging world you are the monarch of your page. But that is not all, to make your blog appealing/ appetizing to your readers flocking your site there are rules to keep it mind. First of all keep your blogs short and simple, remember it is not a place to show your prowess as a public speaker. Second, you must always have anecdotes under your belt to drizzle on your words and ideas, that way you could be popular in the blogging world in no time. Thirdly, never look depressed in your blog; like celebrities you must portray good social etiquette at all times. The next is very important, reply to your comments no matter what you must follow this rule if you want to be a well-liked blogger. And remember when you are commenting on blogs your readers have posted never be cynical; in the blogging forum we are all pompous, overconfident birds, we hate criticisms. If you are too critical you may end up losing your popularity, so beware dear girl, always keep yourself in the loop. And if do not have any followers, damn it, write for yourself, because you always end up being your biggest admirer. So be proactive and create yourself a blog and expand your virtual territory. At the end of the day all that matters is how good you feel about yourself being liked and admired by a group of well-bred aficionados or you being loved by yourself, so what that feeling comes with a little bit of narcissism. A bit of narcissism everyday keeps depression away, remember?

Now let us delve a little deeper into the world of social media and talk about the social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. According to Associate Professor Dr. Jean Twenge of San Diego State University, who collaborated with a national youth poll of over a thousand college students in a survey in which they were asked to give their opinions of several subjects including networking sites and if such sites made the new generation narcissistic and overconfident, that over two thirds of the college students replied affirmatively thereby accepting the fact that social media does have a hand in molding the identities of these youngsters. It is said that self loving people are more active in such websites posting attractive pictures of themselves or updating their status or making new friends. But does this mean that social-networking sites are only for narcissists and that only self-loving people only should be using these sites, and those who intend not to morph into egocentric spoiled brats should better abstain from getting involved in the social network? I believe such an assumption is erroneous since social networks did prove to be positive in reuniting old friends and contacts, they are a good platform for group discussion and for the exchange of opinions on varied subjects. Be it politics or be it the world of entertainment, we all can voice our demands or our specific points of view in these forum. But that surely doesn't mean that on the other side of the coin we wouldn't find certain unpleasantness linked with our beloved networks.We all know that there are always two sides to a story, and I believe that narcissism being linked to Facebook and Twitter is just one part of the whole story. It cannot be fully denied, however, that after a long stay in these networking sites, even though we strive not to operate the self-centric lobe of our brain, inadvertently we all end up being a tad bit egoistic. A healthy level of self-confidence is good for all of us, doesn't is make us feel better about ourselves? As for posting pictures, to an extent I love seeing them, but when people get overindulgent and post such intimate photographs as visually unappetizing ones, I feel like telling them right away that there are certain stuff which one should keep in one's bedroom. The discretion of how much you would share with your virtual neighbors does rest with you, so those of you whole feel like disgorging all unsavory details of your life in your blog or in your Facebook page should better use their brain cells first before writing down something and then regretting about it later on. I hope you know that employers do check your virtual activities these days before giving you a job. Yet, despite all the forebodings and premonitions, social networks are a fun way to spend time and this fun factor does play role in their being so popular in the virtual world market. Take Farmville for example, how would we have known about it if there were no Facebook?

Let us end the discussion with a positive note that even though social media may be linked with narcissism there are other factors too like boasting about oneself, feeling like a know-it-all, etc., that might boost an already egocentric mind to become more self absorbing. But in normal human beings with completely sagacious minds who have a good idea about their potential and their social image, I belive social networks seldom transform their innate character.