By Colin Angland
In the year of 2016 it is pretty safe to say that most college students have some sort of social media profile. Virtually everyone is on Facebook, and Twitter and Instagram are becoming more and more popular by the day. We are all guilty of occasionally talking about ourselves online but that doesn’t go to say that some users get carried away. You have probably seen users who are extremely obnoxious and annoying on social media. I have always wondered what drives these folks to promote themselves as often and pretentiously as they do. I call these users social media narcissists. Webster’s Dictionary defines narcissistic personality disorder as a personality disorder characterized especially by an exaggerated sense of self-importance, persistent need for admiration, lack of empathy for others, excessive pride in achievements, and snobbish, disdainful, or patronizing attitudes. You might not agree with me 100%, but I am going to describe some of these attitudes I see on social media every day based on my own observations and opinions.
Ahhh, the selfie. The possibilities are endless. There are so many different ways someone can take a picture of themselves. The classic mirror pic is always a good choice. What about the gym selfie? These users take many pictures of themselves for the sheer purpose of self-promotion and gaining positive comments about themselves and base their self-importance on the amount of “likes” they get.
Some social media users have a bad habit of sharing everything with everyone. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen the same users post their fruit salad and cheerios breakfast plate on Instagram, another form of self-promotion. These users assume that everyone is interested to see what kind of coffee they drank that morning, or what book you read in your free time. The reality is that a large majority of users simply do not care.
These users are always self-promoting their lives. This person spends their time bragging about their material items or how awesome their vacation in the Bahamas was. Picture after picture. We get it. You have cool stuff and have a great life. These users also use social media to boast about their achievements. We’re all glad you made the dean’s list this semester but so did about 3,000 other students, and they aren’t telling everyone about it. These social media users simply paint an unrealistic picture of who they really are.
“I’M A MODEL”
This is quite similar to the selfie phenomenon but let’s go into a little more depth. These users essentially stage their own little photo shoots, just to post them later to Instagram. I’m not strictly talking about women because there are definitely men that are guilty of this as well. They always seem to pick the most attractive photos of themselves, and if they don’t get more than 200 likes the photo is an epic failure. We all have seen users like this specifically on Instagram. It really is kind of sad and pathetic.
Large Amounts of Followers
This one always makes me laugh. I mean how is it even possible to be acquainted with 1,000 other people? It’s ridiculous. These users use followers to achieve some sort of status. We’ve all heard someone brag about the amount of followers or friends they have. These users believe that the larger their audience, the more likes, retweets, or favorites they will receive, which in turn fuels the narcissistic behavior. These users believe that other people are constantly interested in what they’re doing and they want others to know what they are doing. I see a lot of users that think they are too cool to follow someone because they do not want to ruin their “ratio.” The saddest part is that there are users who will actually purchase fake followers to achieve a sense of status.
I know I will probably not change anyone’s behavior, but I hope that after reading this, people will think twice next time before being obnoxious on social media. Just remember that a large majority of people on social media do not show narcissistic behavior. Also, if you ever get confused about the term narcissist, just think of Kanye West or Kardashians. Thanks for reading. Now get on Twitter and Instagram and follow @colinangland right now. Totally kidding.
Colin Angland is a student at the University of Montana studying Business Administration with a focus in marketing.