According to the Facebook Four

Conversation started today

 

1:46 p.m.

Aliza Asad

I think narcissism is an inherent part of Facebook. After all, the website relies on people to be narcissistic. The more narcissistic you are, the more you post, and the more others use Facebook because they are interested in knowing about what’s going on in everyone’s life.

 

1:47 p.m.

Tyler Christian

Well isn’t it hard for everyone to keep things to themselves?

We currently live in a society where people everywhere crave attention. Even I’m guilty of following in this trend from time to time. I think once the news feed function was introduced to Facebook, that opened the opportunity for waves of attention to be spread.

 

1:48 p.m.

Natasha Afshar

I think narcissism is the name of the social media game. And it’s not exclusive to Facebook. Think about Twitter: these are MY thoughts. Instagram: these are MY pictures.

 

1:48 p.m.

Tyler Christian

Tumblr: this is MY life.

 

1:48 p.m.

Aliza Asad

Natasha makes a good point — it’s actually more evident in other social media networks. Facebook is less apparent than other social media websites.

 

1:51 p.m.

Natasha Afshar

I think it’s less apparent but also screaming at the same time. It’s less apparent because Facebook is multi-faceted and is used for several purposes. But at the same time it’s the most used and booming.

 

1:51 p.m.

Aliza Asad

Facebook use actually seems to be declining…probably because it isn’t as self-centered as other networks like Instagram and Twitter.

 

1:51 p.m.

Tyler Christian

I actually think that Tumblr is giving Facebook a run for its money, especially because I know certain people that post things that scream either “I want attention!” or “I need help!”

 

1:52 p.m.

Sumeet Skrimshander

But I don’t think it’s specific to our generation only. It goes as far back as Plato talking about how poetry is just cheap entertainment and should be banned because poets are just self-obsessed, or so Plato believes.

 

1:53 p.m.

Aliza Asad

Well narcissism isn’t new to our generation. But our obsession with our technological footprint and self-image is.

 

1:53 p.m.

Sumeet Skrimshander

It has increased because there are ways to capitalize our narcissism.

 

1:53 p.m.

Natasha Afshar

In terms of what Sumeet says, I don’t think the idea of being self-obsessed is new, but I do think our generation is being labeled as such because a social mindset has changed over the years to almost a primitive instinct of competition, getting on top, thinking of self to survive.

 

1:53 p.m.

Tyler Christian

Narcissism has always been present, however the gateways to get it across have grown in more aspects in variety than ever before.

 

1:55 p.m.

Aliza Asad

Opinions on the importance of maintaining an online self-image?

 

1:55 p.m.

Natasha Afshar

I’m actually pretty fascinated with the divide of cyber personalities versus real personalities because I think more often than not, they are completely different.

 

1:56 p.m.

Tyler Christian

It’s important because you always want people to really know who you are, however many take advantage of social media sites to sometimes post things that are false about themselves just to see how those closest to them would react.

 

1:58 p.m.

Aliza Asad

Definitely, online personalities can be extremely misleading which I think is why social media can be toxic.

 

1:58 p.m.

Natasha Afshar

I think people give in to social climbing whether consciously or unconsciously because they feel the need to present themselves in a more romanticized, idealistic way.

Because who wants to show their flaws, when they can manipulate their image behind a device?

 

1:56 p.m.

Sumeet Skrimshander

Anything in excess is bad. We’re all inherently narcissistic, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t care about other people or other things. We can choose to not be so self-obsessed. It’s our choice.

 

1:59 p.m.

Aliza Asad

It has to do with this idea of perfection.

 

1:59 p.m.

Sumeet Skrimshander

That’s because if you had a choice in how others perceive you, you’d take advantage of that choice.

 

1:59 p.m.

Tyler Christian

All of this also clearly recalls upon the whole “Catfish” debate where people create fake personalities to receive attention from unsuspected people.

 

2:00 p.m.

Aliza Asad

I just find it super funny that we all try and create a perfect image of ourselves, when in reality it’s our flaws that make us individuals. Do you guys think we can break this mold?

 

2:01 p.m.

Sumeet Skrimshander

No.

 

2:01 p.m.

Natasha Afshar

I think it’s going to take a serious shift of mindset. I think we may come to a point where collectively we will realize how toxic it all really is.

 

2:03 p.m.

Tyler Christian

I don’t think we can, given this social media generation that we’re stuck in. I still believe it will take a shift for the better sometime in the future, however it sadly might take the direction of that classic saying that “things have to get worse in order to get better.”

 

2:03 p.m.

Natasha Afshar

I don’t think technology will decline, but perhaps the ways in which we choose to use them, and perhaps less frequently.

 

2:03 p.m.

Aliza Asad

I’d like to see social media used for ways that benefit a larger group. There are so many great uses for social media that we should tap into. We just have to get over our self-obsession.

 

2:04 p.m.

Sumeet Skrimshander

It is. Twitter had a significance during the Arab Spring.

 

2:04 p.m.

Aliza Asad

Twitter also had a huge impact in the recent Kenya mall shooting. That’s how Al-Shabab revealed they were behind the shooting.

 

2:05 p.m.

Sumeet Skrimshander

Social media shouldn’t be pigeonholed as just fostering solipsism. It is global so it is an opportunity for people who don’t have the right to voice their opinion to do so.

 

2:06 p.m.

Tyler Christian

More than anything else, Twitter is one of the better social networks today because they actually keep people informed on important issues. On Facebook, all you’d get are opinions, unbiased or biased, but they have one thing in common: the fact that they aren’t representing the honest truth of the situation.

 

2:06 p.m.

Natasha Afshar

And in less than 140 characters. There’s no “we” in media…but there is a “me.”

 

2:11 p.m.

Tyler Christian

Narcissism will always exist in society, whether it be in person or on the internet, however its predominant mean of communicating it through Facebook has let the issue spiral out of control. Only until we accept that not everything about ourselves needs to be communicated through a site like Facebook, that’s where improvement will be made.

 

Aliza Asad is a second-year international studies major. She can be reached at aasad@uci.edu

Tyler Christian is a third-year film and media studies majors. He can be reached at tmchrist@uci.edu

Natasha Afshar is a fourth-year English major. She can be reached at natashaa@uci.edu

Sumeet Singh is a fourth-year English major. He can be reached sumees1@uci.edu