You've probably seen it all before. The "Oh my God! My life sucks! And NO I DONT want to talk about it" Facebook status or the "How do I look in this picture?" question attached to a completely-posed-wearing-too-much-makeup--if-I-make-this-kissy-face-people-will-think-I-look-hot picture. These types of updates tend to make you roll your eyes and move on, but have you ever wondered what possessed your friends to post this kind of stuff in the first place? Was it just a case of bad judgement or could it be something more?
Recently, I came across an article entitled, "Facebook's 'dark side': study finds link to socially agressive narcissism" that speculated about whether or not Facebook feeds peoples' levels of vanity and self absorption.
The study pointed out that, "Researchers have established a direct link between the number of friends you have on Facebook and the degree to which you are a "socially disruptive" narcissist, confirming the conclusions of many social media skeptics. People who score highly on the Narcissistic Personality Inventory questionnaire had more friends on Facebook, tagged themselves more often and updated their news feeds more regularly. The research comes amid increasing evidence that young people are becoming increasingly narcissistic, and obsessed with self-image and shallow friendships."
I found these results interesting because I have often noticed status updates from friends or photos that have been posted and wondered, "Why on earth did you put that there? Why did you find this necessary? Isn't one picture of your face enough? Why do I need to see 25 pictures that you have taken of yourself in the exact same pose, just with different hairstyles/outfits?" While Facebook is a great way to share information and stay in touch with people, it has also become a breeding ground for vain people to compare themselves to others, whine about insignificant moments in their day, and post pictures of themselves in the hopes of receiving comments along the lines of, "Oh my God you betch! Why are you so pretty?!" or "Hot dang! I wish I looked like you :(". Facebook seems to be breeding a new culture of people who are investing too much time in their appearance and less time into more important things. Pair this reality with some of the TV shows we watch (Jersey Shore, Teen Mom, My Super Sweet 16, etc.) and it is no wonder that young children are now saying they want to grow up to be pop stars and models instead of doctors and educators.
So, this leads me to wonder, is this the future for our children? Will social media eventually make us so vain that we won't know what to do with ourselves anymore? Will certain values dissipate and be replaced with other, more shallow, ones? At the moment, it is hard to say, but I will be curious to see what happens in the future. Hopefully, this won't happen. I don't think I would be very happy if the world revolved around things such as this:
Just some food for thought :)
Not to mention the recent cases of suicides happening live on Facebook, like this article about a Taiwanese FB victim explains...I don't know if FB is making us more narcissistic or if only people with this kind of tendency are lured into the trap. As usual, I tend to think that technology is just enhancing traits already engrained in our personality. We are the only ones to blame for our faults, but technology certainly doesn't help.
Oh wow Claudia, I kind of missed the suicides-on-Facebook thing. That is shocking.
You put a lot of things to think about in your post, Hanna! I would like to believe that the narcissistic frenzy we find ourselves in will eventually be straightened out... maybe even 'evolutionary' speaking? Apparently our brain cannot handle more than one hundred or so actually social relations; Facebook really only serves as a mechanism for 'remembering' all the rest of them. As a species we really know how to overload ourselves with new, cool things we've invented. We might get tired of them...? Or at least a new balance will come out of it; new generations will hopefully know / be so used to working with and using these exhibitionistic kinds of communication, so that what happens on them actually doesn't really matter anymore.
But it will take a long while before we get there, I'm afraid.
I hope you are right Lisa :) I admit that I have caught myself comparing my photos with other people a time or two and often stop to wonder, if I didn't have Facebook as a tool to do this, would I be so concerned about such a shallow issue? I think that more people are starting to realize the 'dangers' of Facebook and social media in general (hence the creation of articles such as these) and will perhaps, as you said, evolve out of this mindset. We can't be stuck on ourselves forever, right? If we do end up creating a culture that is only concerned with shallow issues, then I am afraid our world may turn into something just like the author, Suzanne Collins, describes in her Hunger Games trilogy. If you haven't read the books or seen the movie, I suggest you do. It's an interesting idea to say the least. Cheers!