Social media creates egos

I am not a hardcore social networking fan. I have just accounts — Instagram, Facebook, which I use rarely, and Twitter, which hasn’t had a tweet from me in a year.

The fact is that social networking sites are possibly an ugly reflection of my own egotism and that image alone is difficult for me to accept.

I was on Instagram, a site that allows you to upload pictures and receive likes or comments on them, looking through my friend’s pictures she had taken from a trip to Hawaii.

As I looked through the photos, one caught my attention, not because of the weird faces she was making in the image, but because of a comment. On the bottom of the picture were comments left by people who followed her. One stood out:

“Why are you taking hella pictures of yourself and putting them in one frame? We all know what your face looks like but to put a filter on each one is overboard, Instagram is about your surroundings not your face.”

I thought the comment was funny because it was the truth and the follower had the gall to be up front about it.

Social networking sites inspire egotism. Critics have talked about the thought since researchers studied the quantity of friends share our thoughts with on social networking sites.

Christopher Carpenter, a 31 year-old assistant professor of communication at Western Illinois University, and other researchers studied the Facebook habits of 294 students between the ages of 18 and 65, and measured two elements of narcissism: grandiose exhibitionism (GE) and entitlement/exploitativeness (EE).

According to the study, GE consists of self-interest, pride, arrogance and attention-seeking trends and those who score high on this attribute of egotism need to be constantly at the center of attention. They often say shocking things and wrongfully reveal their ego because they cannot stand to be overlooked or waste a chance of boasting.

The EE quality involves a claim to social influence and a will to take advantage of others.

It’s common to believe creating our thoughts and making those visible to the general public puts us in an exposed situation.

We have a tendency to place high values on certain views and when those views don’t receive the praise we believe that they should, then we become assertive, and seek attention to feed our ego.

The social networking site Instagram takes narcissism to a different level. On this social site you post anything from pictures of yourself to quotes or sayings that define you.

So what edge do we desire?

I’ll admit I am prone to this behavior. After I posted pictures of my weekend in the city on Instagram the pictures didn’t receive an exact range of “likes” I thought were going to receive. Then self-questioning came into play. Did my friends think my weekend wasn’t cool enough? Maybe they couldn’t relate?  Were my followers too busy to press the “like” button? If you have an Instagram profile and you can’t relate then you’re either in denial or it hasn’t happened to you yet.

There are a lot of people looking at what you post online.

Some might say they’re creative, others consider them hideous. However they don’t define who you are.

So the next time you take a picture or post a quote about waterfalls, or even one of or about yourself, remember you do not need anyone’s confirmation to define how cool the waterfall is or however attractive you are. It’s not what you look like or where you are that makes you who you are — it’s what within that counts.