I feel such blanket generalizations get it a bit wrong and miss the target somewhat.
I don't think it's so much that Facebook or other social media create narcissism - and it certainly
isn't that if it does, such narcissism
didn't exist prior to the information age. I feel it's more that - and this applies to all ages, even if it starts earlier with younger generations as
they're born into it - as we shift more and more of our communication away from direct, face to face, or even at least voice based communication, and
more towards text on screens... we become less accustomed to empathy. That can manifest itself in a lot of ways, narcissism being just one potential
The internet essentially feeds and facilitates our already existing need to serve the id, so to speak. I'm using structural model psychology terms
which I know are a bit outdated now, but I still think as an analogy they work here. Normally, the ego sees reality and the superego tries to impose
an empathetic or at least ethical filter on both what we do about said reality, and what the id wants - which is always, simply, just that: what it
. But when you can't see a person, and there's just text on a screen, the sphere of reality for the ego to perceive is severely curtailed.
And so the impetus for the superego to impose an ethical or empathetic aspect to our interactions is also lessened because we don't SEE a PERSON. We
just see text on a screen, or at best, an avatar, which we sort of interpret as this half-person half... thing. This inhuman entity. Not consciously,
but on a preconcious or even unconscious level. And then we often turn that entity into an adversarial one, because we're online feeding our id and
our own narcissistic satiation (which is basically all the id ever seeks,) so anyone separate from that or hindering that becomes an obstacle.
Unconciously we dehumanize them and see anyone not agreeing with us, upvoting us, etc. as an obstacle to our own narcissistic satiation.
The internet in text form is like the collective id of our society. Often - too often - people just react and spew things out without thinking or
empathizing because it's unnatural and unintuitive to our minds and brains to see plain, cold text and equate that with a person.
Not everyone does this, naturally. But I do think there's something to be said for how this is a new paradigm in our cognitive evolution as a species,
and it stands to reason that it will challenge and muck with our age old means of coping with and feeling empathy and consideration for others both
personally and at a societal level.
So I don't think it's quite right to say social media breeds a new generation of narcissists, so much as the internet as a whole facilitates the id's
desire for narcissistic satiation because it represents an unnatural, unintutiive way to communicate, and more work for the ego and superego to
maintain empathy and rational perceptions of what we're actually DOING when we interact online. In short, it requires more thought, more extra "steps"
- it requires mindfulness, constant remembering of the fact that a human being is on the other side of the screen. Steps which, in a healthy human
being at least, would happen automatically in face to face communication because it's self-evident that a person is standing there talking to you.
Anyway, that's just my theory. The good news is, if I'm right or anywhere in the ballpark even, things like Periscope, Facetime, Blab, reaction
videos, etc. are transforming the internet into a more humanistic, visual experience rather than a purely textual one. So I think with time, some of
this will be ameliorated, as we begin to crave more holistic human interaction on the internet and not be satisfied just with text.
Just my two cents. Peace.
edit on 1/17/2016 by AceWombat04 because: Tiptoe through the typos