Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My Life as a Facebook Narcissist

(Previously titled Facebook: Narcissism or Consociation?)

Recently, a Facebook friend of mine posted a comment on her wall about frustration with people who, in her opinion, are plagued with narcissism:

You can tell the people on FB who are narcissistic (i.e. absolutely in love with themselves) by the number of photos they post OF THEMSELVES!! LMAO! People, we know what you look like. 200 photos showing the same damn thing (YOU) is not interesting or exciting! SMDH!
I don't think that the post was directed at me, but after reading it, I started thinking about this and paused slightly to consider whether my posts were reflecting narcissistic behaviors. Let me say that I work in marketing and have several Facebook profiles that I maintain, so for the purposes of this blog, I am specifically talking about my personal page. 

I love the consociation created by Facebook. I love everything about the friendly connections created and often check the status of friends daily. My favorite thing about Facebook is that it allows people to stay in touch with those who don't get to connect daily. The name "Facebook" in itself describes the point of it all. Seeing photos of "faces" is a joy and gives me great pleasure. I thoroughly enjoy friends who post photos of their children as it allows me to reflect on how much they have grown. My daughter lives over 500 miles away with her dad for a school year. Her step-mom posts pics regularly so that I can feel included in her daily activities. 

Obviously, the point of my friend's post was that people love posting pics of themselves. Lots and lots of pics of themselves. She went on to say in an added comment:
. . . I just don't feel the need to take hundreds of photos of myself & slap them all over my FB profile. It comes across as self-absorbed & narcissistic, and contrary to what the poster may think, it makes for a highly uninteresting FB profile.
While I completely get her point. I find it funny that she has been my one Facebook friend that I have longed to see in photos. You see, this friend is a reconnect from my high school years. When I first got the friend request, I'll be honest in saying that I couldn't quite remember the connection. I ran to look her up in our 1987 yearbook and had that "aha" moment: "Oh yeah, I remember her". I accepted the friend request, excited to see what she'd been up to. I wanted to see what she looked like, not because I'm shallow, but because I was genuinely interested in her life as an adult. At the time, I couldn't find one face photo of her. Every profile pic, had a lion in the place of her face. I thought, "ok, she is a private person". We have been friends on Facebook for a couple of years, and very rarely do I see her face on Facebook. I will say that she is a very interesting person, probably the most interesting of my fb friends. She is well traveled and wise beyond her years. She has a motivational fb page that allows her to share uplifting quotes and tips on living. I have noticed in some of her posts that she has a healthy amount of self love, but I would delight in seeing more of her face. While I appreciate her love for the lion species, it makes me want to say "you are a beautiful woman, stop hiding behind the lioness!" 

When I see photos of others smiling, it makes me smile. Seeing people happy, makes me happy. When I read posts of my friends going through a rough time, it makes me pause and say a prayer. I checked my own profile, and definitely fit my friend's depiction of a narcissistic person, if you go purely based on the pics posted. I'll accept that label. I even noticed that my blog has a slide show of pics of me with my family. Geez - maybe I need therapy! I'm probably not going to change because I know that my family and some  friends get the same joy that I get from their photos.  

What do you think? Do you consider yourself narcissistic?