Facebook & Twitter Are Turning You Into a Jerk

woman taking photo of herselfExperts are now confirming what most of us have been snickering about for the past few years. Frequent use of social networks like Facebook and Twitter are basically turning us into really unlikable, self-absorbed, and socially inept people. Hurray!! Basically, "repeated exposure" to social networking sites leaves us incredibly vain, with identity crises. We all think we're reality stars a la Kim Kardashian, assuming people want to "follow" our every move. Oh, except unlike Kim, we're as socially awkward as, say, a character Michael Cena would play in a teen comedy.

In fact, a professor of pharmacology at Oxford University, Baroness Greenfield, believes the growth of Internet "friendships" -- plus the increased use of computer games -- effectively "rewires" the brain.

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As a result, we're contending with reduced concentration, a need for instant gratification, and poor non-verbal skills, such as the ability to make eye contact during conversations. Hah! In other words, our Facebook addiction or tweeting impulses turn us into big, self-obsessed nerds. Awesome.

It's ironic that I should stumble upon this expert's take on the phenomenon of social networking, because just last night, my boyfriend was using my laptop to email his buddies about a guys' night, and one of the tabs open was my Facebook account. (He refuses to have one.) He scrolled through my News Feed for a good 15 minutes, asking questions about "Who's this?" "What's that?" ... before concluding, "This is all crap!!!" I've heard him say it before. He thinks everyone on Facebook or Twitter is just shamelessly self-promoting.

To some extent, he's right. And so is the Baroness! We are full of ourselves, we are craving attention, and we will get stupider as a result of spending far too much time involving ourselves in an Internet life vs. our real lives. But, one thing that I think neither of them acknowledges is that not everyone takes it to such an extreme, you know? I believe it's possible to get a healthy dose of status updating in, without becoming a sociophobe. But it is a fine line.

Do you think Facebook or Twitter is making us more self-centered and socially stupid?


Image via Jennifer Stoddart/Flickr

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