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If your Facebook, Myspace or Twitter popularity is off the charts, you may very well be a narcissist.

According to a recent study by associate professor W. Keith Campbell and Laura Buffardi, a doctoral student in psychology from the University of Georgia, social networking sites , especially Facebook , have been linked to narcissism -‘ especially in college age students.

Campbell and Buffardi analyzed 129 Facebook users’ pages, polled them and had untrained strangers view and rate the page owners for narcissism.’

How would you stand to this test? Nearly all college students use Facebook – does that mean we are all secretly narcissists, shamelessly using Facebook and like sites to promote ourselves? If this is the case, which I doubt, does anyone really care? Does it really matter?

According to a national survey out Aug. 25, 57 percent of college students admit that our generation is more narcissistic than past generations.

Campbell said that narcissists lack the ability to form healthy, long-term relationships.

‘Narcissists might initially be seen as charming, but they end up using people for their own advantage,’ Campbell said.’

Buffardi and Campbell correlated the number of friends and wall posts that an individual has on their profile pages with narcissism. Buffardi said that a narcissistic Facebook user’s online personality is consistent to the way narcissists behave in real-world settings, especially in the fact that narcissists form numerous shallow relationships.

I don’t agree with this. Sure, I don’t have a record-breaking amount of friends on Facebook, but my list is fairly large.

To be honest, I’m nosy. I want to know what is going on around me, and sure, I will admit to that I am slightly seeking attention. Everyone wants to feel noticed. But if attaining these traits means having a few more friends, then what is the harm?

The goal of a narcissist in using social networking sites is to get as many people as they can come into contact with to think as highly of them as they do themselves. Because of the nature of networking sites, it is simple to control the information released. It makes it much easier to brand or market yourself.

Does branding or marketing yourself really make you narcissistic, though? I don’t think so. I feel like it is very important to present yourself in a professional, polished and controlled manner. Really, everyone is their own brand, especially considering how competitive life is today. ‘ ‘

According to the national survey, many young people agree with me. Almost 40 percent of young people said that ‘being self-promoting’hellip; is helpful for succeeding in a competitive world.’

The pictures people post on their profiles also could be a warning sign to narcissism, according to Campbell and Buffardi. Narcissists are more likely to choose glamorous, ‘self-promoting’ pictures for their profile photos.’

Campbell and Buffardi do concede that not everyone who uses Facebook is a narcissistic (obviously), but that narcissists are taking advantage of the social site to promote themselves in a way they would be unable to without the internet.

I can understand how these people could possibly be ‘abusing’ Facebook, but is it really our concern? Sure, Facebook lets some people stroke their own egos, but I say, if it makes them happy and they are not hurting anyone, doesn’t each person deserve to feel good about themselves?

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The Independent Student Newspaper of Northern Kentucky University.
Promote yourself