According to a study from the University of Michigan, social media sites like Facebook and Twitter attract people who need an ego boost. The research determined that an obsession with social media is becoming less about connecting with others and more about vanity, egocentricity and self-promotion.
The study, published online in Computers in Human Behavior, was conducted by U-M researchers Elliot Panek, Yioryos Nardis and Sara Konrath.
The research examined participants – made up of 486 college undergraduates, mostly Caucasian females, with a media age of 19 – for evidence of narcissistic personality traits.
While there is a healthy level of confidence or self-esteem that can skirt on the berm of narcissism – seen in someone who focuses on their best and most positive traits – a grandiose sense of self-importance and exaggerated entitlement can lead to a need of excess undeserved adoration and a complete lack of empathy for others.
According to the Mayo Clinic, narcissistic traits can manifest as expecting praise and admiration for little to no effort, an exaggeration of achievements or talents, an unhealthy preoccupation with power and success, conceit, lack of empathy, exploitation of others, and distain for those deemed inferior.
Participants answered questions about the extent of their social media use, and took a personality assessment measuring different aspects of narcissism, including exhibitionism, exploitativeness, superiority, authority and self-sufficiency, explains Science Daily.
These results of the personality assessment were compared against their social media behaviors; finding sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram can enable narcissism.
People who exhibited narcissistic tendencies spent significantly more time on Facebook and Twitter – posting and tweeting their own messages and reading comments from others.
The researchers in the aforementioned study were unable to determine whether narcissism leads to increased use of social media, or whether social media use promotes narcissism. Either way, other studies since have uncovered similar findings.
But research aside, here are a few signs you may be a social media narcissist:
- You are a selfie specialist. You’ve mastered how to use the right light to your advantage and all of the intricate features of your smartphone camera. Otherwise, you enlist friends and loved ones to play photographer and only post the flattering pics. A lot of pics.
- You constantly check status updates, messages, and comments posted to your social media accounts more than you do your work email.
- You over-share. Studies have shown Facebook encourages users to engage in self-promoting and other superficial behaviors, explains MSN. As a result, researchers have found that those with narcissistic tendencies especially enjoy posting photos and writing status updates.
- Tying into over-share, you tweet, tweet, tweet every thought that comes to mind or every action you take. And there are just some thoughts and actions better left un-shared.
- You constantly rub in how awesome your life is – how handsome/beautiful, rich, and caring your partner is – how cool your well-paying job (everyone would kill for that you got out of sheer luck) is – how seemingly effortless your miracle overnight weight loss was, etc. You get the idea.
- You are friends with everyone, anyone, so long as your online friend number continues to increase. But this over-friended audience is primarily composed of people you’d be incapable of identifying out of a line-up. Yet you call them ‘friends.’
- You seek support and validation when posting melodramatic ‘Whoa is me’ updates, but fail to reciprocate when others appear in genuine need of help. Narcissistic individuals tend to dismiss, negate or ignore the concerns of others.
[Photo Credit: Rosaura Ochoa]