A report this week, “Are you so awesome you’d friend yourself?,“ by Karen Kaplan of “The Los Angeles Times” discusses the salutary effects of social networking on the ego.
It quotes from “Mirror, Mirror on my Facebook Wall: Effects of Exposure to Facebook on Self-Esteem,” by Amy L. Gonzales, M.A., and Jeffrey T. Hancock, Ph.D.
The study abstract, in part, says, “becoming self-aware by viewing one’s own Facebook profile enhances self-esteem rather than diminishes it. Participants that updated their profiles and viewed their own profiles during the experiment also reported greater self-esteem. . . .
“These findings suggest that selective self-presentation in digital media, which leads to intensified relationship formation, also influences impressions of the self.”
A few days before this breaking news, there was yet another “Los Angeles Times” social networking-engendered self-love story,“Women who post lots of photos of themselves on Facebook value appearance, need attention, study finds.” I’m not certain what the ‘A-ha’ was on that research, other than that women may object to being picked on, again. It was reported in the journal, Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking.
Noting the “persistent differences” between men and women, this study concluded that women identify more strongly with their appearance and use social mediums like Facebook to assert their self-worth by posting lots of photos of themselves there.
I once worked for a boss who it was said always had the same 10 items on his daily “To Do” list, it was “Me, Me, Me, Me, Me, Me, Me, Me, Me and Me.” With an ego so big, it arrived in a room, 10 minutes before the rest of him did.
Thanks to those 1970’s era Baby Boomer early adopters of what became the “Self-Esteem Movement“, today’s society keeps reaping what they sowed.
The Self-Esteem Movement was about improving society by making everyone feel-good about themselves. It promoted egocentrism because everyone was told how great they were even if they weren’t. Mediocrity subsumed merit. Egalitarianism boosted egoism.
“I Love Me” lessons were taught in schools. Grade inflation undercut achievement and the studied effort not to hurt feelings engendered outsized expectations of entitlement.
And while reports of the movement’s demise reliably reappear every so often, it’s still resonates although all the derision it’s received has caused its proponents to cloak it in more acceptable forms. See exaggerated reports of its departure at, for example, 1999’s,“Losing Faith in Self-Esteem Movement” and 8 years later 2007’s,“Is the Self-Esteem Movement Running out of Steam?”
The success of the dubious movement self-evidences in the rampant use of social networking websites and not necessarily through research that merely validates the blinding glimpse of the obvious.
And while Robert Reasoner at “The True Meaning of Self-Esteem” at the NASE – National Association for Self Esteem takes pains to distinguish what NASE now calls “healthy self-esteem” from the laughably absurd ‘everybody’s great‘ version taught to Generation X and Y, the fact is that for the narcissist, his reach will never exceed his grasp because Heaven’s already manifest in self-love. (1)
(1) “Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?” – Robert Browning.
Photo Credit: “Untitled,” by Andrea Allen at Flickr via Creative Commons-license requiring attribution.