How Social Media Makes You Selfish
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Politics and Activism

How Social Media Makes You Selfish

An analysis of how social media impacts us.

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How Social Media Makes You Selfish
Avitus Group

According to Narcissus, an old Greek mythological character, “I am amazing. Everyone knows this." Social media creates egotists and narcissists by leading the user to engage into more indulgent or impulsive behavior, according to the Journal of Consumer Research. By focusing on others through social media, and being away from the self, browsing a social network may reduce self-awareness, which in return would also lower self-control and cause people to fuel their narcissistic and egotistic tendencies through exploitation of others.

Admittedly, many may brazenly claim that social media does not create egotists or narcissists, but instead the subject already covertly contained egotistic or narcissistic tendencies. Some may conceive the notion that social media usage simply makes people more impulsive rather than lowering their self-control; therefore, egotists and narcissists are not created, but rather impulsive behavior is within the subject. Another idea some may have is social media does not create a narcissists or egotists, but instead those characteristics of an individual have always been there and are shown. Despite this evidence, research done by numerous psychologists and scientists, including W. Keith Campbell, shows a great deal of increasing trend between social media usage and narcissist and egotistical incline.

To begin with, narcissists and egotists tend to have an overinflated sense of self, an exhibitionist streak and a sense of entitlement and little empathy for others. Narcissists and egotists often act in a way in such to create a boon for themselves: often through exploitation of others. Many narcissists and egotists will post constantly on social media sites in order to gain the, thought to be, much needed attention they ever so desire. On a social media site such as Twitter, one may post and not receive much attention until they deride, tease, or even mock another person. This sudden onset of attention through deriding a person or idea would trigger something within the narcissist’s or egotist’s mind that through exploitation of others, the narcissist or egotist receives more attention fueling their desire (Carpenter). The person executing the deriding may have not achieved the correct characteristics to become a technical narcissist or egotist, but through constant exploitation of others the person may become one through constant overinflation sense of self.

Secondly, CNN reports teenagers spend an average of five to nine hours a day on social media sites including Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter (Wallace). Assuming a student gets the recommended nine hours of sleep, thirty-one to fifty-six percent of a teenager’s day is spent on social media sites to appease their needs ranging from what clothes are in style, to checking scores to a sports game. With a significant amount of time away from the self, the social media viewer would likely have lower self-awareness. Additionally, this effect would likely be strongest for people that have a close connection to the “others” in their network since they are expected to pay more attention to them and be generally more interested in their lives documented in the social network. A real narcissist is dissociated from his or her true self; he or she feels haunted by chronic feelings of loneliness, emptiness, and self-loathing and seeks to replace that disconnection with a sense of worth and importance fueled by others, found by research done by Amherst College. Social media takes the viewer away from his or herself, lowering their self-awareness and ultimately creating more narcissistic qualities.

According to psychologist Bruce McKinney, “Twitter would seem to be a perfect venue for narcissists because it allows individuals to answer the question, 'What are you doing?' via messages of 140 characters or less.” Twitter and Facebook allow people to post what they please and receive “likes” or “favorites” in return. One who thrives on attention from others could easily post a thought or simply what they are doing on a social site and receive attention fueling their obsession, and becoming more addicted to the attention gained from posting on social networks. Recent studies published in the Journal of Consumer Research show that when narcissists or egotists “fuel” is cut off or obstructed, the narcissist or egotist may likely lambaste the obstructer and enjoy the schadenfreude which would follow.

By focusing on others through social media, and being away from the self, browsing a social network may reduce self-awareness, which in return would also lower self-control and cause people to fuel their narcissistic and egotistic tendencies through the exploitation of others. People may not be always born a narcissist or egotist, but through constant use of social media, overinflated sense of self, and the feeling of needed to be heard, one may become a narcissists or egotists. People should refrain some the negative provoking of which takes place on social media to protect themselves, and the people around them from a possible loss of empathy and an increase of apathy.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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