Is Social Media Making Us More Narcissistic?


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Social media has completely revolutionized the way we interact today. We can now connect with the entire world without having to go anywhere physically. While, on one hand, these networking platforms are incredibly amazing since they connect people; however, on the other hand, social media shows some negative and drastic impacts on users’ mentality and behavior. 

According to a study from the Pew Research Center survey in 2018, it was revealed that out of six every one teenager has faced abusive behavior. Another survey showed that people who post selfies, pictures, live feeds, and more have 25% more narcissism i.e. need for attention as compared to others. 

One must try to get more Facebook likes, get more Pinterest followers or Instagram followers not because of self-obsession but for something productive like inspiring others, business promotion or community building, etc. After all, one must act maturely and use social media for positive gain rather than getting influenced or trapped by its negative impacts.  

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What is narcissism?  

Narcissism is a personality disorder where an individual gives himself or herself a lot of importance and seeks excessive attention from everyone around. Due to one or many reasons, that individual becomes self-involved and self-absorbed. Such people can’t differentiate between their original faces and the mask they put on in front of everyone. They always expect appreciation, applause, and praise from others. They always try to be in the limelight so that everyone’s attention is on them. 

There are two types of narcissism: grandiose narcissism i.e. a feeling of superiority and vulnerable narcissism i.e. hypersensitivity to criticism, and such individuals often seek reassurance from others.

A study done in 2020 shows individuals with these types of narcissism are likely to develop an addiction to Facebook and other platforms. The people suffering from vulnerable narcissism tend to seek constant approval and positive validation for themselves, making them vulnerable to any type of criticism. 

How is social media making us more narcissistic?  

An important discussion that is surfacing nowadays is whether social media is instigating narcissism? Well, to some extent, yes. Social media is contributing significantly to making people narcissistic. In such a situation, the validation, appreciation, and approval of others matter more. They eagerly wait for others’ validation about whether they are on the right track or not. Starting from asking friends and families to like the pictures to repeatedly opening the social media app to check the number of followers, these users show several signs of self-obsession. 

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Some ways by which social media is paving the way for increasing narcissistic behavior are: 

  1. Selfies help these people to assure themselves that their outward appearances are perfect and flawless. A selfie will also help them constantly believe that they are the best in a group picture or surrounding it. 
  2. Every social media comes with different filters which people use to beautify themselves, hide their flaws, and portray themselves as the epitome of perfection. 
  3. With the special insight features, users constantly check how many profile visits, likes, number of followers, etc. they have.
  4. Social media also influences people’s emotions. When self-obsessed people see someone else becoming more famous than them, a feeling of envy and jealousy creeps up in their minds.  

Final thoughts 

To be honest, social media has both positive and negative impacts on people. We cannot turn a blind eye to narcissism, as it is a fast-growing phenomenon worldwide. One must be aware and conscious of this dangerous effect of social media and must understand the difference between self-love and self-obsession. One must use social media in a productive and positive way, rather than falling into the trap of narcissism and becoming narcissistic. 

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