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The word “narcissist” originates from the ancient Greek myth of the story of Narcissus, who fell in love with an image of himself in a pool of water, and later died from his fixation on his own reflection. Much like Narcissus, people today have become consumed with their online identities and often portray a hyped-up version of themselves on social media – usually, trying to convince vulnerable and insecure people of the world of a false reality. How do you know if you’ve fallen victim to social media narcissism? Scan the list below to see if you identify with any (or all) of the signs of narcissism.
- Unilateral listening
- Preoccupied with self
- Being above the rules
- Inability to take criticism
- Refusal to take responsibility
- Quick to anger
Social media may be a great tool for professionals to networking on, but it can also have some not-so-friendly side effects that can damage a person’s career and life. Psychcentral.com agrees that “some amount of basic narcissism is healthy” in order to responsibly take care of oneself. Extreme narcissism, however, can lead to other negative emotions and more severe personality disorders, like depression, OCD, addiction, and body dysmorphia, according to the infographic below.
Unfortunately, people are becoming more and more consumed with how their online lives appear to others. Are they posting enough? How many people are following them? Do they look happy enough? The sad reality is, as a society, we’ve become more concerned with what people are thinking and saying about us online, and are neglecting what’s happening in the real world – our families and our careers. In fact, the infographic below indicates that “Facebook had been implicated in one-third of all divorce filing in 2011,” according to a survey conducted with divorce lawyers. Well then, it’s no surprise that a recent study found that Millennial mothers (born between 1978 and 1995) would rather give up sex, television, and dessert than go without their their smartphones, if given the choice.
What does this mean for professionals in today’s dangerously narcissistic and connected world? For starters, your online persona should align with who you are in reality, because that is usually what employers and other professionals use to verify your credentials. If your profiles are full of awful selfies, then you can be sure that your first (and last) impression was definitely not a reputable one. You can kiss that job goodbye … forever.
Because we are all so highly connected, especially through social media, it’s important to really understand the significance of the saying, “keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.” In the business world, relationships are everything, so be careful not to burn bridges, because it will likely come back to bite you in the you-know-what at the most inopportune time in your career.
To save yourself from falling to the depths of social media narcissism hell, ensure that your online profiles align with your career goals, that your privacy settings are in order, and that you’re putting your best foot forward to maximize your networking potential.