Is Over-Sharing in Social Media Normal or A Sign of Collective Narcissism?
A Look at How the Way Humans Relate to Each Other is Changing
Photo : Wikipedia Commons
With the recent emergence of a variety of social media tools, it is no surprise that humans are in the face of an incredible metamorphosis in how we communicate and relate to each other. Although highly beneficial and efficient, sometimes over-sharing can border on narcissism.
It seems in the last few years that social media is only growing in popularity. Like aligned dominoes, once one member of a social group joins almost invariably others follow suite. While I have absolutely nothing against Facebook and the likes of it, it is becoming clearer that these tools are expanding to replace more traditional ways of communication and identification with other humans.
With sites and apps such as instagram, flickr and twitter the sharing of personal human experiences with a wider audience that can hypothetically include anyone online has become more and more prevalent. When observed with a critical eye, this "sharing" begs the following question: Is it merely a desire to connect with fellow humans or is this excessive use of social media a manifestation of a greater social problem?
Unwarranted sharing via social media may be a symptom of collective narcissism that has plighted people of the 21st century. One gains the impression that photos and videos of every event of perceived significance that is limited only to those truly concerned with those events, posted online as minute updates is almost a cry for help. Twitter updates of personal whereabouts and toilet presence strikes me as just a bit over the top and frankly unnecessary.
Perhaps referring to online sharing as a cry for help is a tad bit extreme; I recognize the incredible role that social media has played in shaping recent political events. And as a budding journalist, I see social media as part of my craft's toolbox. It has also contributed in improving the efficiency by which we communicate with each other. However, it is very challenging to ignore the fact that over-sharing may just be a huge cry for self-validation, if not for help.
"Me, me, me!" is the howling cry of Facebook posts asking to be liked and tweets retelling minor and unimportant happenings of the day, asking to be re-tweeted. Although veiled in communal rhetoric, social media can sometimes be a way for people to assume a self-centered position with undeserved attention celebrating the mundane.
Is this over-sharing a sign of an increasingly high development in collective narcissism? Is the invention of previously non-existent rituals and excessive sharing via social media a sign of a greater disease? Are humans becoming socially bankrupt, always in search of some sort of display of importance to self-validate? Or is this just the natural progression and evolution of how we communicate?