Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Narcissists and MyFace

My wife told me about a story she read on the news about the dangers of "Facebook" and "mySpace" as it relates to creating a generation of people who are narcissistic. The theory is that these "social network" sites are used by millions of people who's online cultures allow them to continually post thoughts about "What they are doing" and of all of their current photos.

These web-sites are great for re-connecting with lost friends and for getting actual updates from people's lives. The issue is that these sites have become places where users almost compete for the highest number of friends and comments on status updates (of course bloggers never care about how many comments are left... if you agree make sure you at least post "likes this" so the tally goes up a bit for me) .

Are we encouraging a culture that wants to talk about themselves and that constantly takes photos of themselves so they have new user photos? Is it true that these social networking tools have caused people to lose a level of checks and balances that prevents too much arrogance or self-centered behaviors? Imagine 15 years ago if I called everyone I knew to say, "I'm watching a movie right now... and by the way, my relationship status is waiting for confirmation" and then I hoped to hear my friends respond favorably. Then imagine if every Monday morning I arrived at work or at school and handed out new photos of me and said, "this is my new profile picture... this photo represents how I want you to think of me". I'm sure my friends (and people who were friends of friends of friends) would have been fine if I tracked them down and asked them to "be my friend". I'm sure I would also think it a mistake when they choose to ignore my requests.

Okay, maybe the article might have had some good points.

But the point for me is that these tools are here and they are very much a part of our world. Although I still need my wife (and the occasional 6th grader) to help me with my Facebook account, I do use these tools and love that I have re-connected with friends from all over the world. I even love being able to share photos of my kids, my wife's and my travels, and my latest personal "head-shots".

So in an attempt to create a networking site for those of us who are not narcissistic, but just want everyone, everywhere to know who we are and what we are doing every 30 minutes, I am creating a new site that combines all the best of Facebook and of MySpace but disallows self-centered people. This site is called "MyFace". When I say "my face", that is literally what it means. Everyone's profile pictures are simply different photos of me that each person may choose for their very own. If anyone wants to share vacation photos, they can scroll through my own personal travels and substitute them for their own. You can still update your status but if you post things like, "I'm sitting at work and can't wait to get home" you lose one friend from your list.

Now that I have pissed off half of the world (okay 2 of the three people who read this), please know that I will not create a site called "MyFace"... because someone else already did. I also will continue to use Facebook and promise to log in at least once a week. I will also continue to keep up with my friends through this tool and I promise not to judge anyone who is addicted to updating his/her status, who posts all of his latest photos of himself, and who keeps asking to be my friend even though we really don't know each other.

So I now leave you because one minute ago my status changed to "I'm in the library and working on some research"..... oh, I will also leave you with a brand new profile picture to prove how hard I am working here in the library.


Andrew Michael Wiskus said...

HaHa, nice post my friend. Now every time I see you on facebook I will remind you how narcissistic you are.

patricia said...

haha! nice photo.
ok, so 2 of the 3 people who read your blog have responded.

Josh said...

I like this.

Make it 3 out of 3.

Jon Chenot said...

Jon... is sitting in his apartment reading blogs and books about Calvin and really thinks that this is valuable information for those other three people who read this blog.

Ryan said...

Thank you for the input. For some reason my wife would not write "likes this" after seeing my new profile photo.

Markchop said...

i tried to give a thumbs up...but i can't find that button! Good post!