The Social Media Narcissist

This may seem out of place on a food blog. You might also think that I have some sort of axe to grind. But honestly I wrote this blurb back in May and never found a forum to properly place the message. Last night I shared dinner with a fellow blogger who enjoyed this so much, I promised to share it with my audience (and hers, granting full permission to repurpose as she sees fit). I believe this is an outline of a treatise that deserves a lot more attention. Most importantly, it came in a lucid moment and succinctly summarizes my views on the current state of social media. Enjoy:

Blogs are interesting. I have no real pressure to publish regularly, other than satisfying my readers or my own urge to purge my food-obsessed mind. But if I stop for a while, or indefinitely, life goes on. I’m one of thousands who have an urge to publicly expose themselves in some narcissistic “look at me and what I know” blog mentality. In fact, perhaps I’m one of millions. But who really cares?

Social networking takes that narcissism to new heights. Facebook is the ultimate narcissist tool. At first it was neat to reconnect with people I’ve not seen, nor heard from in twenty or more years. There’s never been a tool in the history of mankind that allowed such connections to be reforged and maintained. My head would explode with excitement every time I made a new connection – there’s Bob Greenspun, look it’s Kelly Bryers, wow here’s Sarah Glaymon!

Narcissus

But after a while it became clear that having access to these people made no real impact in my life. Did I care that Janeen Muth’s son’s birthday was today? Was my life affected by Beth Segal’s night out? Do I really need to know that Milton Glenn was cooking Bourbon Shrimp? No disrespect people, but the answer is a resounding NO.

Moreover, did anyone really care about my opinions on atheism, politics or even food for that matter? Maybe. Certainly some people enjoy reading the blog and the associated posts on my Facebook page. But what’s more interesting is why I would choose to share such opinions. Why I am posturing my opinions in front of all of these people? Clearly I am putting a lot of thought into what I write (especially with status updates), with an ultimate goal of influencing the opinions people hold of me. We all are! We’re fucking narcissists.

What you say in your blog, facebook, twitter, etc. is intentionally geared at perpetuating the story you’ve created in your head about your life to the masses. I went to this concert and you know about it so you can see that I am cool (which is clearly up for subjective interpretation because one man’s cool is radically different from another’s – like Bruce Springsteen is to The Flaming Lips). Look carefully at your friend’s facebook updates, mine included, and you can piece together the puzzle of who they want you to think they are.

Moreover I believe that language, in general, is manipulative. Everything we say is designed to influence the people with whom we communicate. Listen to yourself objectively with this in mind and you will see that it is a rare word that leaves your mouth that isn’t furthering the perception we want to hold of ourselves and create for others. The beauty of social media is that we have finally found a forum to spread the images across wide geography, generations, cultural divides and even time, as we reconnect with our past that would have never connected otherwise.

2 thoughts on “The Social Media Narcissist

  1. Perhaps this is why I have never been very comfortable in the social media arena? You have just spelled out what I have been thinking ever since I took my first steps into Facebook (via a need to know what my teen age son was getting himself into). FB and Blogging seem to require a certain amount of the ‘look at me…LOOK at me! attitude, and I guess I am just not that into it. I have enjoyed reconnecting with old friends, when we actually do get to see each other in person.

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