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article imageOp-Ed: Researchers say Facebook users are more narcissistic

By Viga Boland     Sep 9, 2010 in Lifestyle
If you spend hours on Facebook, you may be more narcissistic than the average person, a new study found. But these users might also be lonely.
This information was in my local newspaper yesterday and I found it again this morning in the UK Telegraph.
My gut reaction was "So, tell me something I don't know!"
I think anyone who spends time thinking about and observing the behaviours of those around us could have formed that opinion with or without spending time and money researching it. For this study, the researcher questioned 100 students between the ages of 18 - 25. What would have been interesting is a much broader study ie. what about all the others using Facebook? There are more and more seniors getting involved with Facebook these days as a means of staying in touch with family far and wide and finding old friends and school-mates from way back when. Are these users narcissistic too? Most likely not. But many of them may be what other Facebook users are: lonely!
Apart from being narcissistic or lonely, in my humble opinion, avid and frequent users of social networks, be it Facebook, MySpace, YouTube or a myriad others springing up every day are often also those with very low self-esteem. Such networks have given all users the chance to feel important if they live in a world or home where they feel insignificant. Very often, the users are teens and young adults, struggling to find themselves, wanting to be like the starlets and popstars they see on TV and read about in the mags. Enter YouTube. If you can make a video of yourself doing something, suddenly YOU are on TV. If you network for hours on end, and your video is worth watching, hey presto, now you're the star and everyone knows you. Gee, keep it up and you could be the next Justin Bieber.
The Beatles once sang "Ah, look at all the lonely people ... ". They were so right. The world is full of lonely people, wanting to be loved and recognized and above all, not ignored. Social networks are seen as their chance to be seen and heard. Even Digital Journal, offers those of us who write, a chance at recognition for a skill we believe we have. The enormous success of blogging is yet another means of getting that recognition. With blogging, social networks and whatever they'll come up with next, we all have our tiny claim to fame if we want to use it. And some folks really need that to feel good about themselves. So in that way, these are good things.
So, in summary, many Facebook users are indeed there because they're more narcissistic. Others are there because they're lonely; others are there to locate friends from their past (a quickly growing demographic by the way); and still others are there to bolster their self-esteem and feel a bit more significant in a world that pays little attention to the ordinary guy or gal and lots of attention to the news makers, politicians, Hollywood stars etc etc.
Outside of those simply trying to locate old contacts or stay more immediately in touch with friends and family spread far and wide, does anyone really believe that having thousands of "friends" means you have thousands of friends? Only those with low self-esteem could possibly buy into that fallacy.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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