N is for Narcissism

| April 28, 2014

The ubiquity of social media in our society in recent years is, of course, both exciting and unsettling. Surely, a platform like Facebook seems to be conditioning us into narcissistic behavior, rewarding us externally in the form of “likes” and comments. As psychoanalytic author Nancy McWilliams states, “mass communications exploit our insecurities and pander to our vanity and greed…the immediate impression one makes may be more compelling than one’s integrity and sincerity” causing a “narcissistic absorption” (2011, Psychoanalytic Diagnosis, p. 177). As a friend once said recently, “Facebook is all id.” Interestingly, all postings in a Facebook newsfeed take up equal amounts of space and are presented as equal currency. For example, if I post a photo of lamenting my cold cup of coffee, and a “friend” posts an article on the horrors and war crimes occurring in Syria, one is not distinguished as being more important than the other. Am I left subconsciously thinking that my suffering in drinking a cold cup of coffee is as worthy of attention as the suffering of war victims?