This post may get me in trouble but….
I mean…maybe Mark Zuckerberg did not set out to produce the most narcissistic generation of all of time (or bring out the inner narcissist in adults who had previously kept their secret well at bay), but that’s exactly what he did when he created Facebook from his (perhaps) meager dorm room at Harvard 6 years ago. From the invention of status updates in late 2006, to the newly added feature of “checking in” (a very dangerous feature I might add, especially since many have yet to learn the beauty of blocked profiles), those in the Facebook generation are free to share every nitty-gritty detail of their personal lives with whoever they want to, generally the 500+ people they call their Facebook friends.
I’ve been a member of Facebook since late 2004, back when you had to have a college email or alum email to join and still miss the days when FB was a small society of people casually keeping up with old friends, their real friends. While I appreciate finding old high school, college, and elementary friends, easily managing events, and keeping up with family, I am increasingly annoyed at the way some people use Facebook as their own glorification page.
So, when I heard about a small study correlating Facebook to narcissism, I was far from surprised. The following list is directed at no one in particular, however, is based on the study, as well as observations from Facebook over the last 5 years and my own 500+ friends.
Top 5 Signs you May be a Facebook Narcissist
1. Your wall is primarily made up of posts by you . These posts may be self promoting or just simply what you are doing or what you are thinking, but your wall is pretty much all you. Or you update your status more than 3 times a day. (I feel like three times a day is generous-but uh, I’m in a generous mood tonight I guess).
2. You have a photo album that is entitled “Me,” or you have a photo album that is made up of pictures of only you. (***I would like to make one distinction here-I have a friend who took one belly shot each week during her pregnancy-this was so stinking cool that my husband begged me to do the same thing-this does not count at all, but is simply a cool, artistic way to show the beauty of pregnancy, and I’m not just saying this because she subscribes to my blog-I’m not, it was cool).
3. You check Facebook multiple times a day. This is something only you can measure. I know that there are some days when I check FB a lot and often it’s either out of boredom or because I’ve made a status update. The latter would probably fall into the narcissistic category I’m sad to say. Wah Wah Wah.
4. You check or update Facebook while on dates or outings with significant others or friends. (If you are updating to say, brag that you are at a cool concert or sporting event-it doesn’t count).
5. You change your profile picture more than once a week.
6. (A Bonus) You are only really friends with 25% of your Facebook friends. Why do we all have so many friends??? It’s WEIRD!!!
Ok, folks a lot of us (myself included) will answer yes to some of these. Is it a huge problem? No. However, if the answer is yes to ALL of them-maybe you should reevaluate the reasons that you and Facebook seem to be best friends forever. I love Facebook, so much so that I took it off my Iphone for a time so I wouldn’t be tempted to check it so often. Yes, Facebook keeps us connected to friends and family that we love, however it has perhaps made our relationships more shallow than it has made them deep. It is time we remember the purpose of Facebook as a tool to promote friendship and family, share humorous stories, post fun pictures, promote small businesses and independent artists*, and share advice instead of a place to shamelessly promote ourselves.