Hearing the word "narcissism" is usually immediately followed by the thought of an acquaintance or friend. Maybe it’s Richard Sherman screaming about being the best after the Seahawks beat the 49ers, or maybe it’s one of your high school friends who posts a different retouched profile picture every other day.
The internet is becoming the perfect vehicle for the narcissist because it allows a person to become his/her “possible self.” Sites like Facebook and Twitter allow the narcissist to engineer the perfect image and consequently, feed their fragile self-esteems. Since social media is so pervasive of our lives today, especially in the younger generation, narcissism is becoming more widespread. Researcher Shaun Davenport stated, “Some of it is that you see the behavior more on Facebook and Twitter, and some of it is that our society is becoming more accepting of narcissistic behavior.” While it’s certainly true that widespread nature of social media breeds narcissism, that doesn’t mean we should all be oblivious to the narcissist among us. Here are a few signs that will let you know you’ve got a bona fide narcissist on your hands.
1. They tell you how much attention their photos are getting.
The narcissist will never miss an opportunity to remind their peers that they are popular on social media. More likes equals more friends which equals a bigger ego and higher self-esteem for the narcissist. “Oh you got 17 likes on that post? I just got 168 on my profile picture, but that’s low for me.” They don’t seem to realize that if you really cared, you could go and stalk their accounts. Chances are you don’t.
2. Their profile pictures are solo shots, and have been extensively edited and retouched.
Solo shots tend to get a lot of likes on Instagram and Facebook, so the narcissist will immediately gravitate towards these types of images. However, looking like a real human is below the narcissist, so multiple filters, edits, and retouches will be applied to make sure he or she looks as unrealistically perfect as possible. Caveat: people will be confused when they meet you in person and see you’re not ‘silver screen’ flawless.
3. They use too many hashtags that are clearly not true, like #nofilter or #nomakeup when they have an entire face of makeup done.
#nofilter #nomakeup? Please. I can spot that Valencia filter from a mile away. This is a common tactic used by the narcissist because they think that a) they will come off as humble and b) people will actually think the hashtag is true and be even more impressed with the photo. This tends to fail, because a small child could tell that the flawless complexion is a result of airbrushing, not just good genes.
4. They tweet or make a status about all their “achievements”, even private things.
This type of narcissist is one who achieves tangible success only by sharing other ‘successes’ with the Internet. While it is completely appropriate to let your friends on social media know that you got into law school or that you completed a marathon, making a status about every grade you’ve ever received is excessive. There’s a difference between being proud and being petty. Oh, you successfully walked downstairs without falling? Actually, I’m kind of surprised…good for you.
5.They tweet all day, and will surreptitiously delete tweets that have not received enough favorites.
We’re all a little guilty of being overly active on social media every once in awhile, but for the narcissist, this a daily task. Most of their tweets center around their own activities, and, in search of elusive favorites, they may even copy common accounts and claim them as their own. Worst of all, they will delete tweets that do not get favorites in case people think they don’t have friends.
6. They care about their “ratio”.
The narcissist will NEVER follow more people than the number of existing followers they have. It just won’t happen.
7. They post ‘rich kid’ photos.
The narcissist uses their material possessions and social media to convey a better social status of themselves. Brand names are very important to the narcissist, because what good is your Vineyard Vines button down if no one knows you have it?Featured image courtesy of Michal Oravec via Flickr.