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Social Media: Not Just for Narcissists

You will note from what I believe in my essay on conversation that I sense a growing prevalence of narcissism in our social culture. The disdain shown by many towards the users of social media might appear, therefore, to be a camp in which I belong. Yet, while I do find aspects of social media foster self-centered mindsets, I also appreciate its more meaningful facility for connectivity; a trait intrinsic to the human experience.

It was with interest that I read Tara Parker-Pope’s Well column, All About You, in last weekend’s New York Times Magazine. In it, Parker-Pope refers to recent research by the University of Hartford that rebutted less nuanced research suggesting narcissism in Facebook users, and established instead that Facebook users were likely to score high on “openness” and had a relaxed attitude towards privacy. While I do not believe that online forums have the same potency as do personal interactions; openness and a willingness to share are essential attributes for fulfilling conversation, and that I support wholeheartedly.

3 Comments

  1. trilety says

    Good, quick read. Results are only as nuanced as the study and her article shows this. The last line about Twitter made me laugh as she must be not yet introduced to the side of Twitter that is all about connecting and helping. I’ve been amazed at the personal conversations and emotional support that occurs between strangers on Twitter…strangers who become friends. Thanks.

    • Hello Trilety. I, too, have been surprised by the degree to which people will form virtual connections via Twitter, which they will then broaden into personal meetings and engagement. What is noteworthy about that, perhaps, is that people feel the urge to engage in person. Best, Stuart.

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