Social networking goes from the golden boy of media to the enemy of the public very quickly, depending on the week's findings. This week, Facebook is the enemy of everyone again, after it was discovered that there are some links between Facebook users with large numbers of friends and narcissism. Narcissistic tendencies were found among Facebook users who had the most friends and activity on the site, which would make sense.
As the Guardian reports, people who scored most highly on the Narcissistic Personality test also had the most Facebook friends and updated their status most regularly. Previous studies have suggested a link between the two, but this is the first time that a real correspondence between the two could be seen. The latest study was published in the Personality and Individual Differences journal, which seems to command some respect within its market.
The type of narcissism identified among more active Facebook users is 'socially disruptive', which is seen as being one of the more severe forms of narcissism. The study took place at Western Illinois University, with researchers studying the Facebooking habits of 294 students between the ages of 18 and 65. The two elements of narcissism observed were grandiose exhibitionism (GE) and entitlement or exploitativeness (EE).
Grandiose Exhibitionism includes: self-absorption, vanity, superiority, and exhibitionistic tendencies. People who score highly on this aspect of the personality disorder need to constantly be at the centre of attention, regardless of why they are surrounded in attention. They cannot stand being ignored or missing an opportunity to promote themselves. Entitlement includes a sense of deserving respect, and a willingness to manipulate others.
Carol Craig, of the Centre for Confidence and Wellbeing, said youths in Britain are becoming more narcissistic and exhibiting these tendencies as well. The study director, Christopher Carpenter, feels that the darker side to Facebook needs closer examination for their research to be completely accurate for the future. The findings presented, while not exactly encouraging, could always be worse. Hopefully, narcissistic tendencies are the only real potential we could be seeing in the future.