Social Media and Narcissism

social media venn diagramIt’s time for some head shrinking!

Today’s Topic:

Does the use of Twitter, Facebook, blogs and other social media make us appear more narcissistic than we really are?

It’s been an interesting few weeks for me. In a jumble of health problems, sleep deprivation, writing my story about surviving lung failure, travel, sticking up for a friend and other controversial conversations (not to mention trying to wean myself off caffeine) I’ve been a little more emotional than usual. I’ve had some things I’ve vented to a friend in confidence blow up in my face, and it’s made me do a lot of critical thinking about myself.

I am pretty open about talking about my struggles with ongoing depression on my blog. I am on medication, I read books on self-improvement and I see a therapist. But after a year and a half of teetering on the edge of my sanity, I decided to get a full psychological evaluation. Yep, I’m going there.

I filled out a packet of intake forms, met with a psychologist, then filled out a Scantron form with answers to 250 yes/no questions. They psychologist asked a lot of questions about my support network, past medical and mental health incidents, body image issues, and I feel like I answered openly and honestly. A week later I got an 8 page summary of the psychologist’s impressions and recommendations for me.

Without going into too much detail, I was really surprised to read words like “inflated sense of self, ” “superficially charming,” “immature,” and “exhibitionistic and narcissistic.” I think that everyone has moments where they seem a little more prideful or immature. I know I’m guilty of it, but I think it’s more the exception, not the rule. When my friends talk about me on Twitter, they say these type of things:

kate pease comment

In my studies of Dr. Google and Dr. Wikipedia, I realized that there is a spectrum of states of narcissism. When most people think of narcissism, this common and general definition comes to mind:

Some psychoanalysts and writers make a distinction between “healthy narcissism” and “unhealthy narcissism“…the healthy narcissist being someone who has a real sense of self-esteem that can enable them to leave their imprint on the world, but who can also share in the emotional life of others. According to Freud, healthy narcisissm is natural part of the human makeup, but also a characteristic that if taken to extremes can prevent us from having meaningful relationships.


Bearing all this in mind, how do you think that social media affects narcissism? Does it allow the vain to become vainer? Is it a safe place to explore your feelings of self-esteem? Have you had experiences where you’ve made a better/worse first impression on people because of the way you’ve portrayed yourself online? Are you careful to not allow the deeper parts to show in your virtual persona? Do you think that people uninvolved with social media misunderstand the sense of support and community that websites like Twitter and Facebook provide?

New Meme: Twitter Capture Tuesday

For those of us who joke that “Twitter killed my blog,” I have a new meme for you! Every Tuesday, I’ll host a Linky for you post your best Twitter status screen capture of the week.

Whether it’s funny:

or wise:

Post your Twitter Capture Tuesday screenshots, or links to the individual tweets, here! Make sure to tweet it and use the #TwitterCaptureTuesday hashtag.

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

My Evil Cult Avatar

cuteculturechic is in an evil cult

cuteCULTurechic by @joshspeters

Thanks to Josh Peters, I have an evil avatar to emphasize the CULT in cuteCULTurechick.***

Yesterday on Twitter, Stephanie, aka @sahans, was going through a tweet-life crisis. She was brainstorming ideas for a new Twitter handle. I suggested a few…specifically ones that had to do with her obsessions of Snuggies, BumpIts, unicorns and sparkly things. I still think @Stephicorny was the best, but she decided to stick with @sahans. In this discussion, Josh joked about the evil pronunciation of Sahans = sawhands. One thing led to another, and Stephanie became “Sawhands McSnuggie.”

@sahans evil avatar
Changing your online persona can be a pretty traumatic experience. Your name becomes your “personal brand.” Once you change your username, especially on Twitter…you can lose a bit of your identity. Do I love my name “cuteculturechick?” Well, it worked for my online dating profile in 2003, and it’s just stuck with me. If I’d been thinking clearly when I grabbed a Twitter account in 2008, I would have picked @nicolebullock. I have @_nicolebullock that I use occasionally (typically for LDS General Conference). But once you’ve established yourself online, and branded yourself…it’s just impossible to give up who you are.

But in the meantime, Steph and I have AWESOME evil avatars. Thanks, Josh!

***I’m not really in a cult, despite what many say about my faith

My Testimony of Twitter

twitter logoI love Twitter. I really do. And most people just don’t “get it” why I spend so much time on Twitter. Compared to other online activities, I actually spend less time than you’d imagine on Twitter. I thought it was high time to explain why my life has been enriched through my interactions on Twitter. After 2+ years on the greatest 140-character microblogging service, I decided to finally “bury my testimony” of Twitter.

Simpsons They have the internet on computers nowMeeting New People: I joined Twitter while I lived in Michigan in 2008. I used it primarily as a blog promotion tool, as well as automatically reposting my Facebook statuses. I had a few real life friends, news sites, travel sites, and healthcare organizations that I followed. In Georgia, I added in a few coworkers and blogging friends. But it wasn’t until I moved to Utah that Twitter clicked for me. I was lonely and wanted to make new friends in the area, and began seeking out local bloggers who were active on Twitter. After following a choice few people, I increased my Twitter usage focus to conversation instead of self-promotion. Within a month of just being me, I went from 250 followers to over 1000. Through these interactions, I have been invited to events and clubs to spend time with my Tweeps in real life. Between Tweetups, Social Media Club of Salt Lake City meetings, blogging brunches, conferences and service projects, I’ve met several hundred of my Twitter friends in real life. Twitter is a tool to interact and introduce, but the real reward has been the friendships I’ve cultivated offline.

Buying and Selling: Whenever I need to make a purchase, I usually check Twitter, Craigslist, and KSL Classifieds. Most of the time, I’ll find what I need on one of these sites. And when I’m selling, I post my listing…then tweet out the link on Twitter. Sometimes when I tweet first, I don’t even have time to post it on a classifieds page before I have an interested buyer. That’s how I’ve sold many items, particularly electronics.

Job opportunities: I like to network professionally through Twitter. When you are friends with great people, chances are that these friends have more friends you’ll want to know. Through my interactions on Twitter, I’ve heard about many work opportunities. It helped me land a part-time summer internship, as well as my full-time current position. I’ve retweeted work opportunities that I thought would be relevant for my friends seeking work. Combined with the integrated tools with Facebook Connect and LinkedIn, you can establish professional bonds prior to submitting a resume.

Easy access to real life events: Birthday Party? Baby Shower? Service Project? Volunteer Opportunities? Conferences? Yep, I’ve heard about all of these through Twitter, and have been able to spread the word to invite more. You can use the site Twtvite to manage your RSVPs and promote your event. Follow the hashtags of people and organizations that you wish to interact with, and chances are that you’ll hear about an event you can attend to increase your network, or just have a dang good fun time.

Instant gratification: Many avid “tweeps” joke that “Twitter killed my blog.” It’s a great distraction from the chaos of the day, and you never know when your thoughts will generate conversation. When you can get immediate feedback via Twitter, sometimes a blog post takes a while to be read and commented on. Really, it’s a social media ADHD dream.  The greatest Twitter users are the ones who communicate with their followers in a timely manner.

social media crack cocaineA lifeline: Sometimes when I’m having a down day, and I tweet about it, I’ll get replies of sympathy, empathy, and encouragement. On a particularly horrible day, I just needed to know that  somebody out there cared. I had over 50 people reply and tell me why I’m special, loved, and important in their lives. It made SUCH a difference. It’s also allowed me to be there for others who are struggling…whether it be from depression, suicidal feelings, or boredom. I like to joke that Facebook is where you lie to people you know, Twitter is where you’re honest to strangers.

Facebook is where you lie to people you know. Twitter is where you're honest with strangers.

I’ve gained many loyal friends through Twitter, but only because I’ve been influenced by several amazing people who showed me the ropes. If you’re not following these people, please click on their name and follow.

@sahans Stephanie was one of the instrumental friends I made as I tried to get my bearings in the Salt Lake blogging/social media scene. She is a talented and sassy writer at The Daily Blarg. We run into each other often, and she always puts a smile on my face. She rocks the Bumpit and Snuggie like no other. He offers the Twitterverse a large dose of happiness.

@igobydoc “Doc” came to my rescue when I was knee-deep into my Blogger to WordPress conversion. I was losing my mind, and a friend suggested I talk to Doc. He dropped everything to figure out my HTML nightmare. Since then, he’s been one of my greatest friends and allies in social media. He set up Team Awesome Salt Lake Utah (aka #TASLUT). I’m lucky enough to work professionally with him as well, after he gave me the nudge to venture into a new field. He blogs at I Go By Doc and highlights local businesses at Local Joints.

@nakedjen I met Naked Jen before I knew of her online. We were in the same suite at for The Evolution of Women in Social Media Conference in Park City. She’s got a wonderful story about true beauty and femininity, and exudes a power and confidence I admire. As I’ve struggled with body image issues, she’s helped me love and accept myself, despite my physical flaws. Read more about her incredible life at NakedJen.com.

@jylmomif Jyl Johnson-Patee is one of the minds behind the EVO conference, MomItForward.com, and the Tuesday night #GNO parties on Twitter. We met at the Wasatch Woman of the Year awards in January, and she was recruiting help to plan the conference. Although my original assignment of “official blogger” fell through, I was more than happy to help out at the Registration Desk for the event. We bonded at Bloggy Boot Camp in Phoenix, as she plunged into the swimming pool fully-clothed with @TiffanyRom and @Childhood. Wanting to be just like Jyl, I jumped in too. She’s a mover and shaker, and I know big things are in store for her future.

@paco_belle Scott has a keen wit,  good beard,  heart of gold, and a desire to grab a tasty beverage at all times of the day and night. And he gives GREAT hugs. He’s my Proper Drink Run buddy (aka #PDR) He’s a public relations rockstar, and is the man behind the scenes for many businesses and causes. He writes great web content, and is always open to brainstorm my crazy ideas with him. My life is better because I know him.

@joshspeters Josh is one of my social media idols. He co-authored the book Twittfaced and generates great discussion on social media strategy at his blog Shuaism.  He was setting the Salt Lake City social media scene on fire until his recent relocation to the Los Angeles area. Luckily, I travel to LA often, and he’s kind enough to make time to hang out with little ol’ me. He’s got excellent taste in food, and I love getting restaurant tips from him. If you’re feeling a little clueless on how to use twitter, check out his Twitter Cheat Sheet.

@scottcowley Scott is a prime example of an online acquaintance becoming a real life friend. He has a talent for writing and rallying up the masses for causes like bacon and silly cow pictures. He blogs at Scottergories.com.  I joke that Scott is the luckiest guy I know. He’s the winning-est person I know in the blog giveaway scene…not to mention he’s lucky to know me, and I’m lucky to know him (yet I am still looking for the magic dust on his desk that helps him win contests)

I could go on and on about the amazing people I interact with on Twitter. Instead, why don’t you jump in, join the conversation, and gain a testimony of Twitter just as I have?

Who has influenced your life through Twitter?

Cutetulturechic’s Twexicon

Using Twitter in Jail

My social networking habits seem to go back and forth between Twitter, blogging, MySpace, Facebook, and a couple Ning sites like Pilot Wives Club. Currently,
Twitter is my online vice of choice. If you are unfamiliar with the ins-and-outs of Twitter, here’s a handy guide to understanding the 140-character microconversation phenomenon.

Many words are melded together in the Twitterverse to help save on space. I’ve come up some of my own, picked up a few, and constantly create more. There’s also a feature called #hashtagging, where you can refer to specific events, celebrities, emotions, etc., and you tweet will be put into the search function on the Twitter sidebar.

Here’s a Twexicon, or Twitter Lexicon for your TwEnjoyment.

General Twitter Definitions
Tweet: A 140-character (or less) message posted on Twitter
Tweeting: The act of sending your Tweet
Retweet: Forwarding a tweet to your followers (AKA RT)
@: The symbol that precedes the name of a person you’re replying to (eg. @cuteculturechic)
Tweeps: Peeps, people, generally a Tweeter that you follow, and they follow you
Twitterverse: All the Tweeps who Tweet on the interwebs
Twinteraction: social interaction through Twitter
Twitterhood/Twitterville: a most exiting place we lived in that time
Tweet-up: when Twitterers arrange to meet face-to-face. Good for lonely hearts, travellers, sociable types.
Twitpic: one of many applications that enable you to take a picture on your mobile then zip it straight to all your followers via Twitter

Lingo you may find while Tweeting:
Twoops: Accidentally posting a private/direct message (DM) on your public feed
Twoosh: Posting a message on Twitter that is exactly 140 tweets
Twirty: Dirty or Flirty
Twornication: Affairs that start from meeting on Twitter
Twinsomnia: Insomnia sparked by getting too involved in tweeting late at night
Twirting: Flirting
Tweetaholic: Someone so addicted to Twitter, so much that it requires a Twintervention
Twintervention: The act of interfering in one person’s addiction to Twitter by another

Twittonary: Dictionary of Twitter Terms
Twabstinence: Giving up Twitter because it takes up too much time
Twabulous: Fabulous
Twaffic: When too many people tweet, and it causes the site to slow down to a crawl
Tweet Cred: trying to impress a Twitterer with more followers increases your “Tweet Cred”

Twunkie: A Twitter Junkie

LDS-specific Twitter Lingo (most of these I made up just for fun)
Sacrament Tweeting: Secretly tweeting at church
Twabernacle or Twemple: Where LDS Tweeps Meet
Twinnocent: Innocent
Twaperone: Chaperone
Tweediator: Mediator
Twintegrity: Integrity
Twornication: A sin you have to confess to your Twishop
Twishop: Bishop
Tweepentance: How to make things right after Twornication
Tweeneology: Going back through your followers to see who is related to you
Tweaching: Preaching via Twitter

www.twitter.com/cuteculturechic

Tweeting on a Jet Plane

Tipped off by Someday. Brilliant!

Tweet

I caved in a moment of early morning insomnia insanity. For anyone who cares to follow me, I’ll be now tweeting on twitter. Note – they wouldn’t let me add the final K in cuteculturechick, so I’ll tweet at cuteculturechic. Just like on LiveJornal. Except I don’t LJ anymore.