Here is a question. Why do people join social media? Have you ever asked this question to your own self or your friends? The majority would reply to this in negative. As per 2020 statistics, more than 3.9 billion people in the world use social media which is half of the world’s population. To the above question, everyone would reply differently. Some would say that they use social media websites to interact with their friends and family, some for study and work purposes, some for news and information while others use it for entertainment.
No matter what answer everyone gives to the above question, the reality is that no one knows. The current generation is growing up with social media and hence becoming used to it. It has become so common that no one cares to reflect on the reason as to what purpose they actually use it for.
The usage of social media is something that cannot and should not be ignored. On one hand, it has made work and day to day contact easy. On the other hand, it has become the cause of anxiety, depression, low self-confidence, and low self-esteem. Considering that the later (negative effects) are becoming more prevalent day by day, it has become incumbent to know the reasons for our constant obsession with social media. Why even after knowing its implications on our mental health, we are not ready to talk about our attachment to it- let alone about leaving it.
Now coming back to the main essay question, ‘IS SOCIAL MEDIA MAKING US MORE NARCISSISTIC’. The question aims to explore whether teens and adults use social media because they think they are or they want to look interesting to others. Here is how you can know if you are becoming narcissistic by using social media or not. According to an article on Narcissism- by psychology, you are a narcissist if you have the following qualities
- a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, self-importance, and perceived uniqueness;
- a preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success and power;
- exhibitionism and attention-seeking;
- displays of entitlement and the expectation of special treatment from others;
- an unwillingness or inability to show empathy.
Now self-assess yourself. If you are using social media to look special, gain more likes or followers, improve your profile, or make a long friend list then know that, unfortunately, you are a narcissist. Similarly, if you are using the sites just to let others know what you are doing instead of socializing, sharing, and getting updates then there is a problem too. There are a lot of users on social media who are always choosing posts, photos, news, and articles that could make them and their profile look good and different. Likewise, if you are too absorbed in collecting likes, reacts, and seeing how your profile looks when you view it as public then understand that you are using it to influence others and not for other good causes.
Contrary to its name, not all the people on social media socialize. A lot of users are busy in impressing others rather than showing empathy and kindness to them. Self-love is good but self-obsession is not.
It would be wrong to totally blame social media sites for increasing narcissism among youth. Yes, some may start acting like this unknowingly on social media by following others. However, it is safe to assume that social media sites have always acted as a platform that assists narcissists in boosting their already present behavior.
In my opinion, the trend is changing. It was long ago when people used to post everything (their daily routine, work, accomplishments, and meetups )on social media. Today, there seems to be a balance between the two groups. One who posts to get praised and look good while the others who post to interact, share, and coordinate.
Social media is a blessing if used in the right manner. A lot of people have gained true friendships, skills, and even jobs through social media sites. There are a lot of people who are using social media to promote their work, business, and knowledge. A lot of pages have been created on various sites to help students, job-seekers, employers, teachers, and businessmen with their problems and learning. On the other hand, there are people who are always doing self-promotion (flaunting their wealth, results, profiles, or friend lists). Studies have shown that those who spend time doing self-promotion (posting selfies, giving check-ins, increasing friend-lists, and followers) are known as narcissistic individuals.
Considering the above points, it’s a bit challenging to answer the above essay question. We are not bound to follow something without our choice. Being adults and independent, we are wise enough to choose the side of the coin that is best for us. If today, social media is causing someone something then it is ‘depression’. We cannot blame social media totally for making people narcissistic but we can blame the already narcissistic individuals for causing depression and anxiety to others with their behavior and attitude. We should act responsibly and utilize our time on social media for the purposes that benefit us and others.