Facebook's 'Dark Side' Isn't as Dangerous as It Sounds

Tech Talk 4

woman looking at facebook on her ipadWhy do most people with access to the Internet spend way too much time on Facebook? Why is it that the novelty hasn't worn off after roughly eight years? This is apparently the BIG Question of our times, because researchers are actually looking into what the deal is with super-active users ...

A study from Western Illinois University appears to have uncovered the "dark side" of Facebook. People who scored high on a test called the Narcissistic Personality Inventory questionnaire "had more friends on Facebook, tagged themselves more often, and updated their news feeds more regularly." (And by that last point, I think what they meant to say is that they updated their statuses? Come on, if you're gonna study Facebook, at least use the proper terminology, people!)

Well, okay, not really news flash, right ...

Zuckerberg may want us to believe that he created Facebook for caring and sharing (ha), but in reality, the site was pretty much built (and has evolved, think Timeline) to cater to everyone's inner egomaniac. It makes sense that the frequency with which you tag yourself, write statuses, friend people, etc. would be equal to how much attention you crave. Thus, it's no real wonder that people who are more active on the site are biggest attention whores of all.

But so what? People who are narcissists to begin with are getting even more narcissistic on Facebook. Yeah, I can see how it would be a problem for youngins (and another reason I shook my head back when Zuck let the high schoolers on ...), but as far as adults are concerned, you're only hurting yourself by being obnoxiously needy on Facebook! It's not like your real-life friends won't take note when you're constantly begging for attention through pics or status updates. Ironically, that kind of behavior can turn you into a social (media) pariah! But will it get you "de-friended" in person? Doubtful, because I don't think that narcissism necessarily translates offline. Thank goodness!

Is Facebook to blame for making people narcissistic?


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