Does Facebook CAUSE narcissism?

… or are narcissists just drawn to social media?

I started asking this question on Twitter a couple weeks ago, in order to gather some ideas and thoughts from my online friends for this post.

Most of the comments suggested that it was the latter – that narcissists were drawn to social media. That makes sense and is a comforting idea. All those people bragging all the time on Facebook were simply attracted to the medium for that reason… But is it true?

All the teenage girls taking a self-photo with their smartphones… were already narcissistic? All of the people extending their Christmas-letter-bragging to a  year-round activity on FB?

I know my behavior is different when on social media. After my university asked alums about professors who had changed their lives, I was asked to be in a promotional video. I told very few of my real world friends and colleagues about it, and when I did I carefully worked it into the conversation as an aside. But on Facebook and Twitter I shouted “CHECK OUT the new promotional video at this link –>”.

Having met some of my social media friends in person, I know that they are also reasonably modest in person, unlike their social media personas. So I am confident that social media affects behavior at least online. My worry is whether it then spills over into the non-online world.

What do you think?

During the writing of this post, two others weighed in on related topics. Mark Schaefer wrote a post on social media and the spiral of envy that cited a German study that Facebook users were envious.

Reg Saddler @zaibatsu posted what I like to call the “Facebook Prayer”:

Awesome FB

What do you think. Does social media turn us all into narcissists??

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3 Responses to Does Facebook CAUSE narcissism?

  1. Pingback: Using Social Media in Bursts. Is. Just. Normal. | Theory and Practice of Trying to Combine Just Anything

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