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Narcissism and Social Media: Is There a Connection?

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Narcissism and Social Media: Is there a Connection?

INTRODUCTION: Social media is a tremendously useful tool that we now rely on in our daily lives. Social media enable all of us to communicate and stay updated to our friends and family. Research could suggest social media sites as the cause behind the rise of teen and young adult narcissism? Researchers also suggest social media sites as being a forum for self-praise and gasconading. The report written by, Christopher J. Carpenter, makes an attempt to correlate social media sites to narcissistic behavior. The research of the report goes in depth examining one possible predictor of narcissistic behavioral use of social media sites. The research conducted was in depth and it also examined narcissistic personality traits, the history of the narcissistic personality inventory (NPI) and narcissism on Facebook. The NPI includes aspects such as ‘‘a grandiose sense of self-importance or uniqueness,’’ ‘‘an inability to tolerate criticism,’’ and ‘‘entitlement or the expectation of special favors without assuming reciprocal responsibilities.’’
METHOD:
According to the report written by Carpenter “there were 294 participants in the survey whose ages ranged from 18 to 65 years ( M = 23.26, SD = 7.30)” of the 294 participants “74.1% were college students and 68% were female”. The participants were not compensated for the participation and according to the research they were recruited by “the members of an undergraduate research methods course in a medium sized Midwestern, American university”. The research also indicates all the participants were Facebook users. The instrument used in the research was a scale ranging from ‘‘strongly disagree’’ to ‘‘strongly agree’’ to measure a particular item listed. The first set of items concerned “the frequency with which the participants engaged in particular Facebook behaviors on a 6-point scale ranging from ‘‘never’’ to ‘‘all the time”. The items included behavior considered by the researchers as self-promotion which “accepting strangers as friends, and retaliating against mean comments”. The participants were next asked the items from “Dillard and Shen (2005) felt anger scale by instructing participants to indicate the emotions felt when the participants updated their status and they did not receive as much attention (irritated, angry, annoyed, aggravated). The participants responded using an 11-point scale ranging from ‘‘I feel none of this emotion’’ to ‘‘I feel a great deal of this emotion’’. Most of the remaining Facebook questions utilized a 7-point Likert scale ranging from ‘‘strongly dis- agree’’ to ‘‘strongly agree’’. Carpenter (2011).
RESULTS:
Researchers predicted that “grandiose exhibition would be related positively to self-promoting Facebook behaviors that allow one to present an inflated sense of self to as many people as possible”. It was also predicted grandiose exhibition would result in a higher number of facebook friends. Entitlement/exploitativeness “did not predict anger when less attention was to one’s status”. The finding was not consistent with the hypothesis. In general, the data were consistent with the expectation that entitlement/exploitativeness “would be associated with behaviors that demonstrated a focus on one’s own needs without regard for those of others”. According to the research “unexpected relationships there were a relationship between grandiose exhibition and anti- social behaviors”. Another result of the report indicated “grandiose exhibition was substantially associated with an increased likelihood of retaliating against mean comments about oneself, though the relationship was weaker than the relationship of this behavior with entitlement/exploitativeness”. “Grandiose exhibition was predictive of seeking more social support than one provides” according to the results of the research.
DISCUSSION:
The researchers of the study sought to find a correlation between two socially disruptive characteristics of narcissism and social media. Grandiose exhibitionism an element used to measure narcissism was predicted to be related to Facebook behaviors “that afforded extensive self-presentation to as large an audience as possible via status up- dates, photos, and attaining large numbers of friends”. Entitlement/ exhibitionism was predicted to be related to “anti-social behaviors such as retaliating against negative comments about oneself, reading others’ status updates to see if they are talking about oneself, and seeking more social support than one provides”. The data gathered following the study was consistent with their hypothesis. The researchers also concluded antisocial behaviors were associated with Entitlement/exploitativeness and grandiose exhibitionism which was not predicted. Both characteristics were related positively to retaliating against mean comments as well as seeking more social support than one provides.
Researchers at San Diego State University also researched a study of social media and narcissism. The study consisted of “1,000 college students, 92 percent of respondents said they use Facebook or other sites regularly, and 84 percent go online several times per day”. Two-thirds agreed their generation is more “self-promoting, narcissistic and attention-seeking than previous generations”. Fifty-seven percent said “they attribute this narcissism to the use of social networking sites.” Another study conducted by the University of Georgia finds that “social networks play on our self-esteem and to some extent on more narcissistic tendencies”. In the study, 151 students, ages 18-22, completed the Narcissistic Personality Inventory. The researchers of this study believed social media sites weren’t as much as a factor of narcissism as the previous reports. One of the researchers stated “Narcissism and self-esteem began to rise in the 1980s. Because Facebook came on the scene only a few years ago, it wasn’t the original cause of the increases. It may be just another enforcer.” The researcher also stated he believes “social networking should not be construed as therapy to build self-esteem. However, the fact that people receive reinforcement when logging on does not mean that the practice should be discarded.”
CRITIQUE
I am a regular user of social media; I have noticed for a very lengthy time social media has become less of a place for staying connected and more of a forum for self-promoting and attention-seeking. Social media appeals to our narcissistic personality tendencies more than people realize. A majority of social media sites revolve around appearance over reality. I have noticed many users value their image more than their actual relationships. Social media has become an online self-love affair and everyone is invited to participate. We as humans naturally have a biological need to socialize with each other and the need for acceptance is vigorously relevant through users’ updates. Excessive admiration of oneself is becoming too common in society; we all should have a healthy perception of ourselves but, there is a line that’s being crossed. The research found in the study is consistent with the belief I share about social media. The only problem I had with the study is the fact it was not as broad as it should have been. It was a small sample of the amount of people that actually use social media. Overall, the research was tremendously intriguing and made me aware of the use of social media in our society. I would have like to hear more information in the possibilities of prevention of this behavior. Humility is desperately in need of promotion in our society amongst young people. Many people have trepidation of if one does not focus on self-promotion he or she will be overlooked which is not true in many situations. A sense of humility is essential to leadership because it authenticates a person’s humanity.

REFERENCES

Carpenter, C. J. (2011). Narcissism on Facebook: Self-promotional and anti-social behavior. N.p.: Western Illinois University. Retrieved July 18, 2013
Mohammed Nur, L. (2011). Narcissism: a cautionary tale (pp. 1-4). N.p.: Minnesota Daily. Retrieved July 18, 2013
Nauert, D. (2012). Facebook, Social Networks Tie Into Self-Esteem, Narcissism (pp. 1-4). N.p.: University of Georgia. Retrieved July 18, 2013…...

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