Social media and narcissism

Monday, June 22, 2015

It seems there is more armchair diagnosing of narcissism and calling people “narcissists” than ever before and social media is often the trigger of it and takes the blame. Narcissistic Personality Disorder is defined by the symptoms of behaviours of grandiosity and lack of self-awareness, an abnormal need for admiration, and often a lack of empathy toward others. While even a cursory look at one’s social media feed will show posts which seem to promote (and perhaps exaggerate) achievements and certainly the visual aspects of social media are preoccupied with appearance, beauty, status and success. While celebrity news and popular culture has for some time been permeated with these characteristics, this last decade has offered celebrity in the suburbs where everyone on YouTube can “broadcast yourself”, personal websites and blogs are de jure, and to exist without social media is seemingly to not exist at all.

Almost two and a half millennia ago Socrates wrote that “to do is to be” while now it seems that “to tweet is to be”. Such is the popularity of such communication platforms, if social media sites were countries, Facebook would be the world’s largest country with more active accounts than there are people in China. Twitter would rank 4th with twice the “population” of the USA and Instagram would round out the Top 10. While the speed of adoption of these communication platforms has been unprecedented- all of this occurring in less than a decade, the reasons for the take-up are varied. Certainly much social media activity is push-communication, with users wanting to publicise their latest activities and status, for many social media use is a genuine attempt to connect, to engage and to listen. However our latest research shows this latter group comprises just 1 in 5 social media users: the contributors who participate via social media as in any community- to share and participate, speak and listen, connect and contribute. Such are these times that the larger proportion of social media users- almost 4 in 5 are consumers, who largely use social media as an update channel to see what others are up to, and when posting something themselves, it is more broadcast and generic than personal and connective.

Most behavioural experts agree that narcissism is a condition not of biology but society- it is the social context not the genetic factors that are causal. In a world of always-connected, app-ready, mobile device saturated living, where every phone is a camera and we are ever just a few clicks away from posting our next contribution it is clear that social media has created an environment conducive to the growth of narcissism. However the apparent rise of narcissism may be more a factor of social media highlighting its existence and narcissistic-type behaviours rather than of itself creating more narcissism. Indeed some of the negative press social media receives is unwarranted. Selfies are given as the ultimate sign of narcissistic times, and combined with today’s must-have item- the selfie stick, an indicator of self-obsession. However most selfies are more “groupies” – not photos of oneself by oneself, but of a group and sent to other friends. Many (though not all) selfies are more about sharing a life journey rather than an unashamed exercise in self-promotion. So too the “status update”, the Instagram account and the personal blog: while such musing and sharing in our grandparents era was kept to a personal journal or limited to a family photo album, the current approach is definitely more public but most of it is a long way from fitting the pure definition of narcissistic grandiosity and an overwhelming need for admiration. In fact the Australian characteristics of keeping things “fair dinkum” and “not blowing your own trumpet” are still part of the local approach. The tall poppy syndrome remains a powerful social norm to ensure that no one gets “too big for his boots” or is “putting on airs”. The Australian values of community mindedness and looking out for each other ensure that empathy remains strong and narcissism is kept at bay- even this great screen age.

Welcome to our blog...

We have a passion for research that tells a story, that can be presented visually, that brings about change and improves organisations. And we hope these resources help you know the times.

Our Social Media Sites

Facebook | McCrindle Research Social Media YouTube | McCrindle Research Social Media Twitter | McCrindle Research Social Media Flickr | McCrindle Research Social Media Pinterest | McCrindle Research Social Media Google Plus | McCrindle Research Social Media LinkedIn | McCrindle Research Social Media Mark McCrindle Slideshare

Last 150 Articles


not-for-profit high school spend mccrindle hobart Hills Shire Council Education Future Forum sector wide presentations social analyst workforce wealth Aussie Births REIV National Conference rising house prices balance daily telegraph hornsby James Ward Elderslie-Harrington park ACT suburb Western Australia nativity scene The ABC of XYZ toys the average aussie summer annual income earning future proofing wedding shbc personalities financial dreams Mount Annan-Currant Hill 24,000,000 home owner baby boomers relational 2016 census bondi teaching Generation X relevant generations food insecurity events insight US REIV Conference housing market ABS mateship careers property price finance McCrindle Keynote Speakers research visualisation sector wide study Work place researcher Cobbitty-Leppington transport Sydney emerging trends click population map poor earn baby boom entrepreneur urban development volunteering data optimistic leadersip perth area wages outsourcing learning professional services moreton bay NFP event SRE #censusfail do people still change their surname after marriage? world 1980 increasing densification university degree going out screenagers happy holidays society study fresh Mark McCrindle in the media social impact greatness community event Crime Rates 2013 millionth identity growth market research trend crime hills shire parents father's day church cultural diveristy living ashley fell casual Res Vis average aussie social research qualitative research Tuesday Trend high density living workplace culture debate tertiary education the hills product Research Executive leadership generation alpha donation Merry Christmas local goal in the media 1968 cancelling event public speaking Australia Day sector housing growth population milestone urban australian menai IT Specialists monarchy organisational culture employers Australian Census story Mark McCrindle social researchers apartments mother's day internships sydney metro 40 million curiosity February 16 population growth optus my business awards Northern Territory JOMO Sydney Lifestyle Study non profit The Daily Edition changing face of sydney eliane miles mythbusters in depth interviews low density affordable Business analysis sunny days community engagement stay home surname renting names PSI capital city visualisation EFF cost teacher participants tableau work from home video urban living index media activity Valentine’s Day potts point deloitte Wagga Wagga dream visual shopper's pick research services Christmas day weather local communities social commentator Black Friday Sales trends of 2017 Christchurch rule keeper VET sector youth anzac the lucky country survey alpha customer ACT Report Black Friday rain social change men baby names australia report leadership workshop unemployment business storytelling litter NEETs prince george Australians Melbourne digital What is food insecurity? demographics repayments learn youth unemployment Maxim Accounting medicine infographics focus groups Scouts logan rich future of work staying in micro salary households census 2016 media commentary Financial Planning Association post rationalism pharmacy winter blues typical australian work social media organisations baby name buildings Channel Seven trends analyst public speaker work-life Channel 7 "know the times" World Water Day religion Skilling cultural diversity mobile shifts children generation hills schools students commuting growing population Christmas presents urban living report investment nfp bus housing SA choice workers average Australian impact dreams australian communities trends report 10 years internet entrepreneurs of today community baby names 2014 analysis demographic trends learning styles facts coffee lovers conference presentation change manly urban taskforce Wellington culture Australian demographics victoria Australian communities socialising showreel environment WA breakfast economic news volunteers Australian Families gold coast students HSC English social lives group maiden office opening sydney hills training Hunter Valley google for education Gen Y the hills shire Sydney population wellbeing cash 23 million Netflix communications office not for profit Jura Coffee gen z dreaming woolworths culturally diverse home group session innovation housing affordability couple Performance Sentiment Index sunburnt country Population Clock high density money commuters gig Australian schools mortgage kate middleton shopping 24 million house price rise unaffordable futurist Sydney’s south west weather sydneysiders happiness capital cities publication online wealth and income Australian Population crows nest financial celebration ageing population faux-cilise acf15 wealth distribution dare to dream princess charlotte McCrindle Speakers 2015 growth of sydney Vocational education demographic social life staff speakers Generation Y financial fears blaxland TED talk proactive energy education sector quote public transport South Australia the australian dream child care 1975 world youth day earnings conferences young people Australian Home experience friends suburbs environmental scanning financial planning royal baby Retail screenage jobs of the future bureau moderators guide global financial crisis media release innovative parenting TED Tuesday Trends city brands Wodonga Northern Beaches Christian School politics office space ethnography rise of local maiden names Do It Yourself Duchess of Cambridge research data government Willowdale selfie food weekly earnings donate ageing families Assistant Store Manager christmas trees average sydneysider sydneycity 2016 omnibus stats research pack census fail faux-cilising NBRS christianity educated Social Trend student townhouses forum travelling travel Lower Hunter Australia street seasons suburban living pharmacies demography slideshare cica cartodb January 26th jobs christmas Adelaide program healthy future australian communities forum waverton school lifestyle national wealth forecasting domestic etiquette supply and demand australian community trends report household Word Up Australian community trends schools year 7 divorce property development income trades NBRS Architecture royal influence trends of 2016 twentyseventeen Australian Communities Trends baby census results property market google ultimo village DIY baby names report volunteer motivate data visualisation NSW volunteering family recap young australians emerging generations megatrends Queensland New South Wales faith spirituality Jura Australia NT apartment trend tuesday internship optus event New Zeland wealth inequality investor Christmas season marketing middle class future collaboration insights coffee consumerism presentation narcissism who is generation z skills graphs results professional speaker Queensland: QLD Myth TDE winter marriage TAS future of education retirement professional new york times business performance award winner australia housing trends Andrew Duffin HR social issues social analysis TEDx Speaker global generations huffington post women cost of living darwin property poker master Australia Day 2017 tuesday cold Northern Beaches speaker thought leadership fears school satisfaction workshop leader brisbane resilience holidays seasons greetings 2017 the changing face of McCridle marriages charities census ACF2017 newspaper Real Estate Institute of Victoria society trends FOMO sydney market Northern beaches Event chairty local community train online shopping shopping centre trends Kiwi teachers authenticity paying to work meals ACF teleworking SMART award cooking Geoff Brailey case study forecast rental stress social enquiry entrepreneurial CBD mover and shaker holiday sydney event thrive hopes cancelling plans aged care statistics home ownership social trends millennials demographer tips national crime rates friendship employment list sydneysider sun Black Friday in Australia social economy offenders food bank baby name predictions Deaths year 12 Royals surnames interactive snapshot entertainment water Bathburst sentiments australian real estate lalor park real infographic wall tv sustainable goals house price infographic focus group Charlotte contiki Canberra Macquarie University high density apartments education future report grandparents mining boom australians staying home more mccrindle in the media aussie culture demographic transformations neutral bay residents DESTEL FPA brand experience Christmas data resource renter of the future conference speaker wolloomooloo Financial Planning Association of Australia giving car future of shopping mccrindle tea Australian Dream conference Financial Planning Week Caregiver wage Tasmania university McCrindle Speaker Christmas day speajer public holiday state Love sports data care support baby name trends future proof GPO SMSF VIC purpose engagement professional development marrickville hunger keynote vegetarian ashley mckenzie collaborative life follow investing priorities Aussies global retail media house australian social research builders dessert tattoos Sydney keynote speaker survey design sydney speaker New Zealand criminal faux-ciliser keynote speaker Gen Z Expert social shifts house prices education future christmas 2017 Hornsby Shire Council research on coffee mccrindle research research not for profit research safe CPI aged care puzzle work mates pyrmont vegemite commute educhat workplace Christmas research the great screenage eliane education research ACF17 2012 easter daily commute charity national private wealth define intern Christmas lunch population easy rider royal family ACF 2016 cloudy days TEDx socialites data analyst school students emerging technologies small business clothing Real Estate ipswich future-proof brand education communities mccrinlde divorce rate mentor System's Architect ferry younger generations social commentary networking business index budget affordability long weekend Sydney Hills Business Chamber plans VET mythbusting Gen X generational trends personal growth research report 2020 cancel plans teach Research Director norwest live the dream Christmas in Australia equip Australian Bureau of Statistics tea financial future responsive know the times Australian Trends millenials 2016 census results career financial independence generation Z communicate Territory language social researcher overcast speakers pack micro apartments Lower Hunter Region new office gen alpha professional presenters Kirsten Brewer debt consumer land of the middle class owning a home technology hello fresh rent employmee engage wealth and income distribution sydney property market geomapping gig economy meetings royal gender cars global Engineering Manager christian Christmas Stats learner ideas census data grave decision ease of travel employmer states 1994 digital economy panel communication challenge belief