For this week’s post on anything about the internet, I decided to share a rather interesting study on Facebook.
In class, we learnt about the freedom and the benefits that the social media has given us. The opportunities are endless and almost every social situation we have in reality can be mimicked online in some form or another. The internet is now filled with great efficiency and unimaginable global reach. However in our excitement to embrace the power of the social media, many fail to realise the other indications brought about by them.
A study done by York University revealed that there is a positive relationship between the level of narcissism and the number of times a person checks his/her Facebook page. This is because Facebook provides the perfect climate for narcissists to “monitor their appearance and how many ‘friends’ they have, allowing them to thrive on ‘shallow’ relationships while avoiding genuine warmth and empathy.” Furthermore, the site can also be used as a self-promotion tool.
I feel that narcissism has been used too loosely by youth today up to the point that its meaning is diluted. Narcissism, in its true essence, is a personality disorder where one is excessively preoccupied with issues of personal adequacy, power, prestige and vanity.
I have seen enough Facebook profiles to prove the validity of the study. There are times when I get irritated with how my entire news feed is flooded with posts of just one person. I have friends on Facebook who do a daily ritual of posting perfectly well photo-shopped pictures of themselves and their outfits, fishing for compliments. I also have friends on Facebook who constantly flaunt about how awesome their lives are and blabber about their endless love for their other halves, only to disappear from their accounts when their lives are not as happening as before. Seriously, it’s damn irritating.
In addition, I feel that the study can be applied to most forms of social media, and not just Facebook alone. Almost all forms of social media have the ability to allow users to promote a perfect image of themselves.
I believe a point we must note is also an individual’s access to Facebook. This might be a limitation of the study which was not considered by the researchers. It is definitely inevitable for someone with access to Facebook 24/7 (eg, those with a Blackberry or iPhone) to be more active on Facebook than those who are limited by the use of Facebook only at places with internet access. Therefore, the reflection of a person’s usage of Facebook may not be a true indication of their level of narcissism.
Although I find this study interesting and pretty entertaining , I am not deterred to reduce my use of the social media in any way. I believe that it is still useful to keep my loved ones updated about my life. The benefits the social media provides us with far exceeds the costs it brings. Users of the social media are not only youth and the technologically savvy people, but also educational institutions and workplaces. In this interactive internet age, not participating in the social media will only make one look like a hermit and be isolated from the masses.
Seriously, how can one ever avoid the social media?
Narcissistic? So be it.