Virtual Friendship and the New Narcissism

 Here’s an extract from a great post from The new Atlantis     via George

“Although social networking sites are in their infancy, we are seeing their impact culturally: in language (where to friend is now a verb), in politics (where it is de rigueur for presidential aspirants to catalogue their virtues on MySpace), and on college campuses (where not using Facebook can be a social handicap). But we are only beginning to come to grips with the consequences of our use of these sites: for friendship, and for our notions of privacy, authenticity, community, and identity. As with any new technological advance, we must consider what type of behavior online social networking encourages. Does this technology, with its constant demands to collect (friends and status), and perform (by marketing ourselves), in some ways undermine our ability to attain what it promises—a surer sense of who we are and where we belong? The Delphic oracle’s guidance was know thyself. Today, in the world of online social networks, the oracle’s advice might be show thyself.”

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4 thoughts on “Virtual Friendship and the New Narcissism

  1. I would hazard to say that, depending on who you are and how secure you are with yourself, the networks could really be something of a downer and may lead people to fabricating “themselves” in order to be more popular which could have all types of negative affects. As a place to gather and share with friends, these networks are great. They allow us to get into contact with old friends, keep track of what ishappening in their lives and be aware of what they are doing. We must be careful that, in keeping networked, that we don’t try to “keep up with the Jone’sMyspace” or whatever. As youth, or adults for that matter, seek to be popular or to find others who are like them, there is a danger that people could become wrapped up with “showing themselves” without really “knowing themselves”.

  2. I don’t believe social networking sites are creating a culture of narcissism. Rather, I believe online profiles are the equivalent to songs sung by birds perched in a tree. These songs simply say “this is me” in bird speak. (Not all bird calls are intended to attract a mate. )

    By encouraging people to express their preferences for music, books, films, activities, etc., online profiles allow people to say “this is who I am.” This enables like-minded people to meet.

    Also, more and more of us are now telecommuting rather than working in bricks and mortar offices. When working in the same physical space, we have the opportunity to develop social relationships by going out for lunch with colleagues, etc.

    Working virtually, it is much more difficult to get to know colleagues on a personal level. Online profiles enable the development of closer relationships among members of virtual teams.

  3. Kelly, interesting concept about showing yourself without knowing yourself. I wonder about the messages that we give to others (show) even though we do know ourselves. Thanks

  4. Richard,
    Love the picture of birds singing in the trees.
    I agree that online profiles and social networking help to develop closer relationships and enables like minded people to meet and share ideas……

    Although maybe others haven’t had such a positive experience as us?

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