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Lena Elizabeth

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Are people really more narcissistic than ever before? If so, are social networks and other new media to blame?

I keep hearing that narcissism is at an all time high. The Millennial generation is now being dubbed Generation ME and walking down the street you can count the number of people you see pointing phones at their faces for "selfies." But is this generation really more narcissistic than previous generations or are social networks and other new media simply a platform for broadcasting narcissistic tendencies that otherwise may have gone unnoticed?

By their nature of relying on user-generated content Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and so on, encourage an endless stream of self promotion. At what point does this become psychologically destructive? People can get caught up in cultivating their own image rather than interacting with others. My worry is that we will be faced with a generation where everyone acts like the star of their own reality show. Do you think this is where we are headed?

Interesting Reading: http://www.psychalive.org/2012/10/is-social-media-to-blame-for-the-rise-in-narcissism/

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  • Jun 5 2013: Reality shows are so cheap to produce compared to other programming. This study does begin to show how these “stars" see themselves as "special" or better than others even though they possess no "skills or talent". Does this narcissism trait blind the "reality stars" ability to see that they are mock able laughing stocks? Is "honey boo boo" a star? Are these shows rigged, set up or staged to "create" reality. They have no script but it doesn't mean the producers can't edit, skew and fake events to convey a plot line. I tend to believe that if someone has to tell me they are a "star" then they probably are not one. Look at the Facebook -instagram scandal. If real people see this "reality tv" as actually real, then this is a confirmation of the narcissism study. We just want to see ourselves, not actors portraying someone like us, Narcissus so loved his own reflection that it is the name of a neurological condition that we as a population seem to embrace. The TV turns out to just be a mirror after all. How many times have people said that they should or you should have a reality show? Do most people wish they did? It is like the degradation of the American Dream, hitting the lottery or getting a reality show- All you wishes come true just by getting lucky or "being you".
    Do I watch Duck Dynasty.. no but do understand that if you take people from life that make people turn their heads and put them on TV the same thing will happen, for 22 minutes and 8 minutes of commercials. Ultimately we might just watch to make ourselves feel better about our own issues, habits, and neurosis because the TV tells us we are not alone, or that "at least there is someone crazier out there than ourselves and they get paid to it! In essence justifying or reinforcing the behaviors. So does Reality TV equal temporary fame, humiliation and fulfillment of the "Faustian" promise of fortune and glory for the price of your soul or is it just good ole fashion consumerism, Hollywood and the American way?
    • Jun 10 2013: Interesting point. I think reality tv presents an interesting problem because ordinary people start acting as though their lives are their own little reality shows. An interesting article could be written on "Is Reality Television the New Pool For Narcissus' Reflection?"

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