A study out of York University concluded that Facebook, the wildly popular social networking website to which I actively belong, attracts people who are narcissistic and insecure.
Researchers only studied 100 people and they were between the ages of 18 and 25. Isn’t everyone narcissistic and insecure at that age? There are 500 million Facebook members worldwide and 16 million in Canada alone and the fastest growing demo is 55+.
It’s not for me to define whether Facebook is feeding my narcissism or insecurities but I do know that I like being able to keep up to date with people whom I might otherwise fall out of touch. I also get a kick out of sharing my own stuff like photos and silly little thoughts. I suppose that if I were hanging on the reactions of others that would make me like one of those people in the study but to me, that isn’t the point of posting stuff. I see it more as my contribution to the big pot of infromation stew that is Facebook
I have actually seriously been questioning my allegiance to the website this week. A Facebook friend (and in this case, not a real friend) threatened suicide on the site recently and it was definitely a cause for concern. His real friends went to his aid and he didn’t do anything foolish but it made me pause: Do I want to witness the darkest moments of people I don’t even really know? If I did, I’d watch an awful lot more reality TV…and I choose not to. I wouldn’t say it shook me up but it made me review my reasons for putting myself out there.
For now, I’ll continue to write inane, brief comments and post photos and the rest. But I’m being a lot pickier about who I accept as a friend and I’ve taken advantage of the privacy settings so I only share and see what I want to see. That means that some people who are my “friends” will be hidden from my view and I won’t have to wade through what they post. That’s step number one. I’m still on the fence about further steps and perhaps one that takes me right off the site altogether.