I can’t believe I am actually writing a blog post. I suppose the reason for it is so I can remember these thoughts for later, without scouring my external hard drive, Google Drive, or OneDrive. Anyway, I’m taking one of my final classes for grad school (Implementation and Management of Social Media Channels and Online Communities) and we had to write a post about “How to Lose Followers on Social Media”. The prompt was based on Kelly Blazek‘s disrespectful treatment of her followers. See the article for more info. Anyway, I started thinking about Social Media Narcissism and wrote this discussion post for my class. Right or wrong, I cannot say, but, it’s how I feel. 🙂
Social media narcissism is an actual term, these days. I think, like with anything else, there are extremes and sins against moderation. It was only a matter of time before the extreme on social media became evident and developed a term. In Kelly’s case, I feel the narcissism was fueled by a minor pet peeve that went over and beyond the scope of “netiquette”.
I feel that bloggers and anyone online, really, enjoy the right to speak their truth, promote their values, and explore their ideals. Social media has created a quasi-safe environment to emote and to explore your individuality, communally. With that being said, the “me” and the anonymity in social media has given people a certain bravado to do/say/be whatever they want with the excuse of “this is who i am, take it or leave it” type mentality. I think there is a fine line between self-esteem/inner strength and blatant disregard to self-respect.
Brian Wallace posts about Social Media and Narcissism in “Social Media and Narcissism” and states, “Those who are very active on Facebook and Twitter tend to have narcissistic or insecure personalities, according to credible studies. In many cases, those who frequently update Facebook statuses or post Tweets are doing it to glorify themselves” (2013). While a harsh reality, I do feel there is insecurity in social media. I feel there is also loneliness and co-dependence, which all tie into insecurity. For whatever purpose one uses social media, there is a level of trust in your posts and approach to your presence on these platforms. Basically, you “lay it all out on the table” and, when someone criticizes or disagrees with you, you may feel your vulnerability violated. That makes sense and I can appreciate that level of sensitivity.
However, the issue with Kelly is that her postings were aggressive, arrogant, irresponsible, and disrespectful to those who trusted her and who may not have had quite the educational and professional experience as she did. Being demeaning and discriminatory is never acceptable. Particularly when you are followed and viewed as an authority in your “field”. Also, when leading a blog or other social media platform, you have a leadership responsibility to those who will see your content. That’s just Leadership 101.
While I accept, appreciate, and praise social media’s ability to give us PLATFORMS for which we can shout our values and experiences, I do feel common courtesy and mutual respect is always in good taste.
Marrouat, C. (2015, January 2). The Best Way to Lose Followers on Social Media. LinkedIn Pulse. Retrieved fromhttps://www.linkedin.com/pulse/best-way-lose-followers-social-media-cendrine-marrouat
Wallace, B. (2013 December 12). Social Media and Narcissism. Retrieved from http://www.socialmediatoday.com/content/social-media-and-narcissism-infographic