Hey, kids. Tradge news. I know you thought that your 700 raccoon-eye duckface bathroom self-portraits were establishing you as a rigorous thinker and a pillar of the internet — the Christiane Amanpour of "What's in my purse?", if you will — but, turns out, you're just another "toxic narcissist."
A new study from Western Illinois University found a direct link between Facebook use and entitled, narcissistic behavior among American college students. Broadly, the more Facebook friends you have, the more of a complete dick you are. From the Guardian:
Researchers at Western Illinois University studied the Facebook habits of 294 students, aged between 18 and 65, and measured two "socially disruptive" elements of narcissism – grandiose exhibitionism (GE) and entitlement/exploitativeness (EE).
GE includes ''self-absorption, vanity, superiority, and exhibitionistic tendencies" and people who score high on this aspect of narcissism need to be constantly at the centre of attention. They often say shocking things and inappropriately self-disclose because they cannot stand to be ignored or waste a chance of self-promotion.
The EE aspect includes "a sense of deserving respect and a willingness to manipulate and take advantage of others".
Okay. Obviously the worst thing about this study is that it doesn't mention me A SINGLE TIME.
But really, while it's not doing much more than confirming what we already suspected — study finds that narcissists are narcissists! — this data raises some gnarly questions. Does social media have the potential to transform normals into shallow, self-absorbed, immoral, authoritarian assholes? Or does it merely provide an addictive, very public outlet for people who, in simpler times, displayed their narcissism in less visible ways? Like shouting status updates through their gold-plated speaking-trumpets ("Fie! I simply despise waiting in line at the cobbler's!").