Is Social Media Turning Us Into a Generation of Narcissists?

I was recently browsing in McNally Robinson, and was struck by the beauty of all the books. As odd as that sounds, I had forgotten how special it is to own a shiny, tangible paperback. But how much longer will we have these? Have newspapers and magazines? CDs? DVDs?

I don’t want my precious collections to end up in a drawer with my useless cassette tapes from the ’90s.

Although, the sad reality is, it’s only a matter of time.

Unfortunately, I find myself very “connected.” I have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, this blog, 8tracks, Couchsurfing, Vimeo, YouTube; the list goes on.

All of this takes heavy upkeep – but the weird thing is, it doesn’t feel that way.

I willingly spend all day every day, reading, commenting, participating.

From the second I wake up – I feel that 90% of my day is spent constantly looking at my phone. I manically click back and forth from app to app, hoping for a notification, or something to make it all worth it.

But is it?

It’s not that I’m overly interested in what other people wear or eat for breakfast, I don’t enjoy knowing every detail of my acquaintances lives and “creeping” their pictures. Or am I unconsciously lying to myself? Do I thrive on the intake of all this, stuff?

The truth is, social media feels inescapable and the thought of disconnecting makes me feel like I will get left behind.

If you don’t share something, it’s like it never happened.

If I don’t document my new bracelet, delicious meal, or night out with friends – what was the point?

For me, Instagram is the platform where narcissism thrives. At least with Twitter and Facebook, users can give the excuse that they like to repost jokes, news or insightful quips – keep in touch with people from other cities/countries. But with Instagram, it is amazing how easy it is to find ourselves editing “selfies” and adding little hearts and filters to make sure we look our best. Of course we’ll justify it by being bored, or accompanying the picture with a cryptic song lyric.

Instagram puts people in a strange mindset where we feel the need to take pictures of the most mundane things; stop our lives and make sure we take a moment to document. But again, I’m guilty of using #stupid hashtags, and pride myself on the artistic shots I take of my furniture, or awesome new shoes. Is it healthy to be so aware of our image and presenting our lives through constant photos?

Instagram is simply a microscopic collage that acts as a further expression of myself.

I like to believe that when I’m settled and have kids, I won’t be using social media to this degree. It is just a fun thing for right now that I have a complete handle on. I’m in control.

But I’m starting to doubt this.

The whole social media world is bizarre, and seems to be rooted in humans inherent desire to be cared for. To have someone show interest in us is addictive. We all want to be seen and appreciated. When someone doesn’t follow us back, they’re a jerk. How could they possibly not be interested in what we have to say?

Although, sometimes I see too much. Ex boyfriends with their new girlfriends, watching the kids of people I went to high school with grow up, who’s in a “it’s complicated” relationship… I don’t need to know everything.

Will I have all of this my entire life? And if I’m hovering around 300 followers on Twitter and Instagram, will I reach thousands by the time I die?

I can’t just leave – it’s like we have our lives floating around on the internet where we’re constantly accessible. It’s like we are shells of personas that we have created online, without even thinking about it.

On one hand the whole iPhone/social media/internet phenomenon feels like an odd ‘big brother’ situation where we willingly provide the world with every detail of our lives, but at the same time I love it. I eat it up.

This is life now.

Even gravestones can have built in scan codes now where you can immediately link to the persons past Facebook, or webpage.

Social media will go beyond death, and we have chosen to structure our lives this way.

So, is the obsession with ourselves, or with other people?

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2 thoughts on “Is Social Media Turning Us Into a Generation of Narcissists?

  1. I don’t think you have to be a genius to recognise the huge detrimental impact social networks and smartphones are having on society. I feel like a huge proportion of society are becoming increasingly self obsessed, extremely needy(please like my post-shit, no one likes my post) shallow and lonely as a consequence of this technology. It seems to me that more and more people are reporting their experiences, rather than actually experiencing the experience. Everything from music, film and the technology we consume seems to be becoming increasingly disposable(in other words crap). Essentially most of this stuff is meaningless fodder. Social networks give our inflated egos a platform to perform, a place to clutter are minds with nonsense. We’ve become seduced by the convenience. We strap our little external brains to our sides and stop thinking for ourselves. I’ve seen people on buses and trains who literally can’t take their eyes off their smartphones. Someone please tell me why we need all these apps? What purpose do they really serve and do they provide us with true happiness? Rant over!

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