Thanks to social media, narcissists can now influence large numbers of people at the press of a button, but just how is this modern-day internet phenomenon linked to such a destructive personality disorder?
There are growing numbers of research studies that are looking at the ways narcissists behave online. While a definitive answer may be some years off, results from several such studies are starting to reveal the hallmarks of narcissists, their activity, and the impact of social media on the development of narcissism.
The headlines include:
1. Narcissists are more like to be heavy users of social media and are prone to sharing self-promotional photos and status updates – source.
The author of this study believes that because narcissists find it more difficult to sustain real life relationships, they are more naturally drawn to the world of online friendships and the emotionless communication this can create.
2. People who take and share selfies on social media are more likely to show narcissistic tendencies – source.
The study also suggested that editing photos prior to sharing was an even stronger sign that a user was a narcissist.
3. Younger narcissists use Twitter as a megaphone to broadcast their views, while older narcissists use Facebook as a mirror to curate their image through their updates – source.
It seems as though younger narcissists are more concerned with having their opinions heard by a large audience because they inflate the importance of their views compared to others. This leads them towards Twitter and the ability to gain huge followings.
Older narcissists prefer Facebook as it gives more control over how they project their image and lifestyle to people they currently know.
More essential narcissist reading (article continues below):
- The Hidden Language Of Narcissists: How They Manipulate And Traumatize Their Victims
- How To Spot The Difference Between Narcissism And High Self-Esteem
- Coping Mechanisms When Leaving A Narcissistic Partner Behind
- Dehumanization: A Mechanism For Narcissists And Sociopaths To Mistreat Others
- 6 Phrases Commonly Used To Describe The Manipulative Behavior Of Narcissists
- The 6 Masks A Narcissist May Wear (And How To Spot Them)
4. Narcissists may actually receive fewer likes and comments on their updates – source.
Exploitativeness and entitlement were the narcissistic traits identified as the cause of this shortage of engagement. It just goes to show how people on these platforms are put off by narcissistic behavior.
5. Internet trolls are far more likely to be narcissists – source.
Whether on social media, forums, online games or elsewhere, trolling behavior significantly correlates with narcissism (although in fairness it is also correlated to sadism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy – as if they are any less destructive).
6. Social media in teens may be leading to higher levels of narcissism – source.
At present the link between social media usage in teens and narcissism is only a correlation; while it may not be a proven causal link just yet, we shouldn’t ignore this evidence.
Do you agree with the results of these studies? Do you see them play out among some of your social media connections? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.