There have been a number of studies released about Facebook and the habits of its users suggesting that the king of social media tools allows users to display their narcissism with others while being met with the applause and admiration of “friends.” Other forms of social media, too, allow for an inflated sense of self because social media networks give the impression that everyone else cares about the mundane details of others’ lives. Posting what one is eating or wearing are common updates on social media as is the constant re-posting of memes, which are ideas that are presented in short bursts, such as quirky sayings or short video clips. This type of constant posting of one’s fleeting thoughts or situations can give rise to increased narcissism, according to some researchers.
Yes, Social Media Encourages Narcissistic Tendencies.
Researchers at a number of academic institutions argue that high scores on narcissistic inventories are consistent with people who have large numbers of friends and followers on social media sites. People who post more often also display both aggression and narcissism to a higher degree than people who post less often. Because people can see how many others like or re-post their comments and links, the world of social networking encourages the kind of aggressive narcissism that these researchers find is prevalent among hardcore social media users.
No, Social Media Simply Provides an Avenue for Narcissism.
The other side of the social media narcissism argument is that social media serves only as a conduit for people who already would have a multitude of fairly shallow friendships. Indeed, most people who’ve been to traditional American high schools understand that the “popular kids” have dozens of so-called friends, who really are mere acquaintances, and that these friendships aren’t typically very lasting or deep. Social media networks just allow these people to display their narcissistic personalities in a qualitative way. Studies, such as one recently done at Western Illinois University, demonstrate that narcissistic people “overshare” often about particular topics. In other words, they want to be the center of attention and will do whatever they need to do in order to get it. That does not mean, however, that the ability to tweet made those people self-absorbed. It just made it easier.
Whether or not social media breeds narcissism is a question up for debate, but new evidence comes out frequently suggesting that heavy social media use has a number of drawbacks. In addition to narcissistic tendencies among so-called “super users,” recent studies have linked depression with social media. These types of connections perhaps are a mirror of people’s lives in general, but the simple global platform that social media provides shines an often unflattering light on its users.