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Competitive Narcissism

Someone on a mailing list I'm on asserted that MySpace and Facebook are, both, equally narcissistic, and using them shows one to be a narcissist, more so than maintaining any kind of blog. Really? Truly?

Poll #1079747 All about the most important person in the whole world

Using which of these sites shows the greatest narcissism? (Check all that are equally so.)

MySpace
3(12.5%)
Facebook
0(0.0%)
Any blog site, including LiveJournal
3(12.5%)
A personal homepage
1(4.2%)
It depends on one's security settings.
6(25.0%)
Any site for posting personal information online that I don't use.
2(8.3%)


I'm also a little confounded by the presumption of the virtuousness of online modesty inherent in the statement, whose author notes he does have a blog himself. By extrapolation, the most virtuous of online users are those who never leave a trace of themselves behind.

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Comments

( 30 comments — Leave a comment )
coughingbear
Oct. 30th, 2007 10:55 am (UTC)
Any site which I don't use... ie I don't think any of it is essentially narcissistic, though obviously all of them can be. Surely a blog at least contains the assumption that one's writing things worth reading, which might be self-delusion, whereas a Facebook profile could just be about keeping in touch with some people more easily?
owlfish
Oct. 30th, 2007 04:22 pm (UTC)
I think this person was commenting out of ignorance (i.e. "I don't use FB or MS and thus they are only for the vain"), but did so in such a way to make me wonder if this was a more general perception of these two sites in particular.

I agree with you entirely.
a_d_medievalist
Oct. 30th, 2007 11:57 am (UTC)
It rather depends on the content and purpose, doesn't it? And how one uses it ... I mean, I have LJ friends who post stuff that sometimes comes off as "hey, look at me, look at me!" -- but I know a good many of my posts must come off that way, too. But I read those posts and comment on them, because I see it as communicating with my friends. And I write those things for the people who are people I consider my friends. So in that sense, it's like a big group asynchronous phone call. My blog, as you know, is a bit different. My Facebook is deliberately about ME - but as a public face of my private self, if that makes sense, because I put it up initially because faculty were encouraged to do so, and I have 6 students who watch my facebook.
eulistes
Oct. 30th, 2007 01:03 pm (UTC)
This is funny, since I have no problem with students seeing the public posts on my blog, but I refuse to friend any of them on Facebook, which for me is a social rather than a professional thing.

As I think most of us are saying: it ain't whatcha do, it's the way thatcha do it.
(no subject) - a_d_medievalist - Oct. 30th, 2007 01:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
owlfish
Oct. 30th, 2007 04:27 pm (UTC)
Yes, that's the practice of it. But what are the most widespread stereotypes about these sites? (This is the problem with giving a poll like this to an educated and net-savvy audience.)
(no subject) - a_d_medievalist - Oct. 30th, 2007 07:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - owlfish - Oct. 30th, 2007 07:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
kekhmet
Oct. 30th, 2007 12:37 pm (UTC)
no online presence or site in inherently narcissitic. It's all in how you use it.
owlfish
Oct. 30th, 2007 04:26 pm (UTC)
Yes - but I was wondering if, despite that, these sites might have a bit of that kind of reputation anyways.
eulistes
Oct. 30th, 2007 01:06 pm (UTC)
Also: might your last comment be related to the (WASPy Puritanical) notion that a lady's name should appear in print only 3 times in her life (birth, marriage, and death)? Which itself goes back to the Habermasian notion of the bourgeois creation of private vs. public space in the 17th century...?
owlfish
Oct. 30th, 2007 04:23 pm (UTC)
Yes! And that sentiment seems to be at the root of his comment, the idea that narcissistic sites are bad in the first place. What's wrong with a little self-admiration?
strange_complex
Oct. 30th, 2007 01:19 pm (UTC)
I'm going for a personal homepage, by which I assume you mean a page all about the author, their hobbies, holidays, 'artistic' output, etc. This is because, unlike the other named options, it works on the assumption that a person will come to that page purely to read all about its author. Whereas, as other commenters have said, MySpace, Facebook and blogs all involve communal / mutual social interaction as well as personal narcissism.
owlfish
Oct. 30th, 2007 04:25 pm (UTC)
But are homepages acts of vanity or acts of advertising, i.e. with the goal of alerting the world to one's services, even if those are "listening to concerts" or "petting other peoples' cats"? (I suspect you will answer that "it depends".)
(no subject) - strange_complex - Oct. 30th, 2007 04:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - owlfish - Oct. 30th, 2007 04:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - strange_complex - Oct. 30th, 2007 05:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - maxineofarc - Oct. 30th, 2007 04:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - owlfish - Oct. 30th, 2007 07:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - maxineofarc - Oct. 30th, 2007 08:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - littleowl - Oct. 30th, 2007 04:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - littleowl - Oct. 30th, 2007 04:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - strange_complex - Oct. 30th, 2007 04:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - owlfish - Oct. 30th, 2007 07:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - littleowl - Nov. 1st, 2007 01:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
noncalorsedumor
Oct. 30th, 2007 04:07 pm (UTC)
I think it all depends on how it's used.
owlfish
Oct. 30th, 2007 04:26 pm (UTC)
Be arbitrarily decisive! What's all this subjective nuance about? You'd think the world wasn't black and white or something.
intertext
Oct. 30th, 2007 04:37 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure exactly what it means, or how it relates to your question, but it's very hard to imagine using Facebook (or MySpace, I guess, though I've never been there) for teaching in any practical way. I find Facebook shallow and superficial, which is why I have no problem friending students there, but don't encourage them in here. A colleague and I were having this conversation, and he said that he doesn't like Facebook because it gives him TMI about his students (getting drunk and throwing up and so on). But it does, as someone has said wisely, depend on how you use it. It just seems that FB is used MORE for the "in your face" extreme of public behavior. I personally don't post that kind of "out there" information on it, but a lot of people do. Thus, QED - it's more narcissistic, at least for those who use it that way??
Bleah, I think I'm talking in circles - too early and after a night of insomnia...
owlfish
Oct. 30th, 2007 07:39 pm (UTC)
If FB permitted fictional character accounts, it could be used for some intelligent historical RP interactions?
(no subject) - calindy - Oct. 31st, 2007 02:22 am (UTC) - Expand
( 30 comments — Leave a comment )