A recent study found that Facebook not only enables narcissistic tendencies, it encourages them. The study done at York University in Canada looked at 100 college-aged students, examined their personal Facebook page and rated their narcissistic tendencies. What the researchers learned about narcissism shouldn’t surprise us but it provides interesting insight to who is using Facebook and what void it may be filling.
This study shows that individuals who are more self-centered and who have lower self-esteem check their Facebook page more often than others with higher self-esteem and a lower narcissistic quality. They also tend to stay on their page longer, as well as display more self-promotional content. The men in this study generally focus on what they said in the “About Me” section, filling it with egocentric information. On the other hand, women tended to make sure that their profile picture was one in which they looked spectacular.
Since its launch in 2004, Facebook has grown to more than 750 million active users…that’s 750 million people “friending” others, updating their status’ on a regular basis and changing their profile picture as often as they want to. Facebook is built to help us stay in touch, but also to give and take information on our own terms. It allows us to post more flattering photos of ourselves and write any witty quip we can think of in our status update in hopes that our friends “like” or comment on our posts. The system itself is designed to aide self-promotion.
As human beings, we crave attention and positive reinforcement for behaviors through others’ praise and acknowledgement. This craving can also create negative side effects such as becoming obsessed with whether someone “likes” a post and worrying when we don’t get the right amount of feedback. If you find yourself disappointed by anything related to Facebook, go for a walk, read a book, or just do something that doesn’t involve your computer to regain a positive state of mind.