Does Instagram create narcissism?


Are people getting more narcissistic if they use Instagram? I wonder if the platform creates or accelerates narcissism in nowadays society.
For some reason I have the feeling people are becoming more and more self obsessed and perhaps our social media life could be a reason. But maybe people have always been this way and due to the availability of new platforms and cheap camera’s more people have found a stage.

As Wikipedia puts it “Narcissism is the pursuit of gratification from vanity or egotistic admiration of one’s own attributes.” Someone who only loves him/herself and can’t see the damage he/she is doing to others. The term comes from Greek mythology, where the young Narcissus fell in love with his own image reflected in a pool of water.”
Or as Arthur C. Brooks wonderfully describes “Narcissus falls in love not with himself, but with his reflection. In the modern version, Narcissus would fall in love with his own Instagram feed, and starve himself to death while compulsively counting his followers.”

Narcissism might be on the rise as a study in “the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science” shows. Narcissistic personality traits have increased more than half since the early 1980, to 30%!

Some believe that everybody has a narcissistic tendency and thanks to social media we are more aware of these characteristics. Another source substantiates this, “For social media to have become so popular there has to have been pre-existing narcissism.”
Besides, teenagers need to have a narcissistic phase to find their own place in society.  Social media could help find your identity. Unfortunately it doesn’t help you with your authenticity, which could be the reason of profiles looking more and more alike.

Yes, Social media can indeed fill up the empty pieces of affirmation we crave. Although Instagram can’t create a narcissist, studies show that it could act as an accelerant towards narcissistic behavior. (Like giving money to potential shopping addicts in a big warehouse).
And the already true narcissistic people have a perfect platform to show off their perfect self. (We all know them, who solely have pictures of themselves from every possible angle, who are craving attention from others, without showing hardly any warm feelings in return.)

Still, Instagram might not be the best place if you want to spot potential narcissists. It’s virtually not possible to showcase “everything about you” online. This issue makes such platforms one-sided and superficial, which contributes in creating a narcissistic vibe.
Besides, some people are comfortable enough to feel glad about the way they look. Society paints them as narcissistic instead of confident.  In my opinion those people are a breath of fresh air in a world where nobody seems to be allowed to “like” themselves anyway.

Narcissus fell in love with his image. People, who post selfies might not share this same type of own admiration, but do deliver such a message towards others. It depends on you if you believe your images or the images of others reflect real life. We all know that our online life is exaggerated with smiles and good times, because who wants to upload their sadness?

Based on what I know now, I wonder if social media made me more narcissistic.
I guess, rather than feeling the need for digital love, it has made me more self aware and I don’t see this as a bad consequence.

Would people believe I could be a narcissist, based upon my profile? The answer is probably yes.
On a weekly basis I stroll around in different outfits while pictures are being taken. I consider it as a way of expression, like a dancer who dances to her/his favorite beat, or an actress that uses her body to deliver an emotion.  Unfortunately not everyone seems to grasp the difference between expression and narcissism. Which I have to admit, is a vague and thin line.

Instagram isn’t that healthy and it could cause a distorted image, but you can choose not to participate in the attention seeking number game. It’s also an awesome place to find and share inspiration. It can put people on a pedestal and it can destroy people.
It depends on you what you do with it.

Curious is you are a narccistic? take the test here http://personality-testing.info/tests/NPI/

 

Sources:
ABC
Nytimes
The Guardian
Quora
Wikipedia
The Guardian
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3 Comments

  1. January 5, 2017 / 8:42 pm

    Instagram isn’t healthy all the time… I think we all have those people we follow that we can’t help but compare ourselves to… But on the other hand, it feels good to see people being comfortable with the way they look and who are confident enough to post people of themselves, and that can be very inspiring as well… I think it all depends on you and the way you use/view it…
    Lucie, xx

    http://thefrenchpier.blogspot.com/

  2. Claudio
    January 5, 2017 / 11:16 pm

    As you wrote, it depends on what you do with it.
    I believe that the “full exposition” creates a counter-effect on the significant “value” of what is exposed. I remember an idea which I read it from Walter Benjamin, which remarks that certain images contain a “cult value” in which the characteristic of its own value, a major one, comes from their “limited” exposition. Some images deserve to be private and hardly exposed at all, in order to make the exposition of them extremely valuable and significant.

    Something becomes more valuable when its less exposed, It’s somehow related, I guess, with pornography, the full exposition of the act during a period creates the phenomena of triviality & openess of a certain special and private one.

    But, of course, it depends on the person

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