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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 11 2013: Hi Lena,
    You know, I don't know if the problem is narcissism. I get the impression narcissism is a result of something else - self-esteem issues.

    In my opinion, social networks and social media act as a platform to increase our level of insecurity, which is exactly what advertisers want us to feel so we will consume more. I feel for a lot of people, social media is a platform to validate and justify oneself, especially when confronted by other people's posts that are more glamorous, more interesting, just 'better' than their own. This in turn, motivates people to exaggerate, lie, take advantage of the anonymity of internet and make their lives sound better than they are, when there was absolutely nothing wrong with them in the first place!!

    I understand from recent studies that there is a lot of depression caused by social media, especially in teens and adolescents, due to cyber-bullying and privacy issues.
    http://www.pediatricsdigest.mobi/content/127/4/800.full
    http://www.leidenpsychologyblog.nl/articles/facebook-depression-the-influence-of-social-media-on-adolescents

    But I don't think it's where we're headed. It hope it is another bubble on the verge of exploding.

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