Narcissism is having a moment. According to a slew of psychologists and other such experts, Millennials are becoming obsessed with themselves and the Internet isn't helping matters. Things have gotten bad quickly and, unsurprisingly, it's a generational thing.
We are in the midst of a "narcissism epidemic," concluded psychologists Jean M. Twnege and W. Keith Campbell in their 2009 book. One study they describe showed that among a group of 37,000 college students, narcissistic personality traits rose just as quickly as obesity from the 1980s to the present. Shawn Bergman, an assistant professor of organizational psychology at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina notes that "narcissism levels among millennials are higher than previous generations."
Some suggest that Facebook is the issue.
Buffardi and Campbell found a high correlation between Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI) scores and Facebook activity. Researchers were able to identify those with high NPI scores by studying their Facebook pages.
Stanford professor of psychiatry, Elias Aboujaoude, even posits that the "i" in "iPhone" plays a part in the trend. Seriously.
He observes, "This shift from e- to i- in prefixing Internet URLs and naming electronic gadgets and apps parallels the rise of the self-absorbed online Narcissus."
Others blame music and Twitter and companies that allow you to purchase fake YouTube views. The nuts and bolts of it, though, is that social media sites are helping people fall in love with themselves and it's seeping into their real-life personalities. And then everyone else rushes to catch up. It's a problem. The folks at The Atlantic are concerned.
Do not let narcissists set your standards. You may be lagging far behind in the social media rat race because your NPI (Narcissistic Personality Inventory) score is not high enough. The reason you may not have thousands of followers on Twitter and friends on Facebook is because you are normal.