According to a University of Michigan study recently reported on by Rick Nauert at PsychCentral, our favourite social media sites function as powerful vehicles for self-promotion. Researchers Elliot Panek, Yioryos Nardis and Sara Konrath explored the hypothesis that social media reflects and amplifies growing levels of narcissism within our wider culture.
What did they find? Well perhaps not unsurprisingly the authors formed the conclusion that Facebook acts as ‘a mirror’ and Twitter as a ‘megaphone’ for the growing cultural obsession with self. But the results highlighted an interesting age-based difference in how narcissism manifests itself. Among young adult college students for example, Panek, Nardis and Konrath found that those who scored higher in certain types of narcissism posted more often on Twitter. But among middle-aged adults from the general population,the pattern was different; in this group narcissists posted more frequent status updates on Facebook.
It makes sense that narcissists would turn to electronic media as a means of boosting their egos and controlling others’ perceptions of them. It’s the perfect vehicle to self-promote, which in itself is fine, but it becomes problematic when it reaches a level bordering on the obsessional.
You can read the article here.