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The Internet - for the narcissist in all of us

Gamebeast had a great post this week about multiplayer gaming possibly making us more narcissistic. But I sometimes have to wonder.

Is it multiplayer gaming? Or is it the entire Internet that's feeding into this narcissistic culture that we're living in?

Dr. Drew Pinsky wrote a great book about Celebrity Narcissism and how it's affecting the kids of of today. It's called The Mirror Effect, and it's an awesome book that examines the narcissism that's inherent in our culture and how it's being multiplied by celebrity culture.

(Yes, that is my review of the book I'm linking to, which I guess is rather narcissistic of me in itself, isn't it?)\

While celebrity culture definitely has a terrible effect, especially on young girls, I think the Internet has some effect as well. Much along Gamebeast's point about how multiplayer games do it, I think the combination of anonymity on the Net as well as the ability to reach millions of people combines to bring out our narcissistic qualities. Youtube is a great example.

How many videos are on there of people doing stupid stuff? Some of it funny, some of it just plain stupid with no humorous content whatsoever? How many Youtube sensations have gone viral, making news programs, the Tonight Show, O'Reilly, etc? How many of those that *don't* go viral were posted in the vain hope that they would, giving the subjects in the video their 15 minutes of fame? Would people even be *doing* some of this stuff if there wasn't that possibility, much less filming it?

We all have it to an extent; anybody who puts there stuff out there to be read or viewed actually wants people to read it or view it. We're not posting out there for our health or for our own viewing. We talk about how many views our posts get. We talk about getting herded. We get disappointed when we're not herded. I keep a statcounter on my personal blog, and probably would here if it were possible (I don't think it is), all because I like to know how many people might actually be reading my stuff.

While everybody has a bit of narcissism in them, we're not all narcissists. Though sometimes I wonder if the Net does anything to increase those tendencies.

I posted this question once:

"Have you ever wanted to post something inflammatory just to see who would respond?"

I would never do that. Because I'm not *that* bad. And I doubt anybody here (with a couple of recent exceptions, it seems) is that bad either.

But the feeling's definitely there. You want traffic? Being controversial is one way to do it.

When I first started my blog here, before I realized that subscribers actually *don't* get their blogs showing up in the New Blogs list until they're level 5, I was a bit upset because my blogs weren't getting many views at all. I wasn't crushed or anything, but I did feel it. Nobody's reading! (Except Tactical Rash - he's had my back since the beginning).

Do we get a good feeling when we get lots of feedback, good or bad? When we see the number of views go up and up, or the number of comments go up and up? And do we feel a little glum if a post doesn't go over quite as well as we had hoped?

Of course we do. I was a bit bummed my 15 Authors post didn't get the views I thought it would. But i got over it.

Others might not have.

All of this is made possible by the Internet. Do we want to be "famous" but we don't want it to reflect back on our real life? Make yourself an Internet personality that is completely different from the real you. Boom! You can satisfy your narcissistic tendencies without actually paying for it. Others don't mind, and use their real name. Since I don't do much that's controversial, I don't mind using my real name (you'll see it on my personal blog if you go there, or my Twitter account, or LinkedIn...dang, I *am* a narcissist!!!!).

Either way, the Internet feeds that narcissist in all of us.

Most of the time that's not a bad thing. If you have the strength or personality to handle it.

Other times?

You get this.

 

 

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