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The Upside of Social Media Narcissism

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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Vanessa Hill’s new ‘BrainCraft’ channel on YouTube focuses on psychology and human behaviour, highlighting her background in science education and social media. These videos tell entertaining and educational stories with paper craft and time-manipulated sketching. In her own words:

I find the brain and our behaviour so fascinating. I love to share interesting facts and studies I find with others. My background is in science education, my undergraduate degree was in Psychology and I now work in social media—It all seems to fit together really well to equip me to educate people in a fun way. I think people are really interested in self-directed education and come to YouTube ready to learn.

-Vanessa Hill

Carin Bondar About the Author: Carin Bondar is a biologist, writer and film-maker with a PhD in population ecology from the University of British Columbia. Find Dr. Bondar online at www.carinbondar.com, on twitter @drbondar or on her facebook page: Dr. Carin Bondar – Biologist With a Twist. Follow on Twitter @drbondar.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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  1. 1. mah3md 4:46 pm 01/31/2014

    “I find the brain and our behaviour so fascinating.”
    Me too! With Woody Allen, I also consider “the brain” my second favorite organ.

    Link to this
  2. 2. jmgrant 5:13 pm 01/31/2014

    I don’t think measuring the number of selfies taken as a measurement of narcissism is valid. I think that’s more a technology issue. I mean, you get on a social site and what’s the first thing you do? You set up your profile. You have a cellphone with a camera, so you take a selfie to upload. You want to say “hi” to your friends while on vacation? You take a selfie with the beach in the background. It is just simple and quick, so people do it more. It doesn’t necessarily represent a new personality quirk.

    People have been taking pictures of themselves on vacation and sending postcards for a long time now. Younger generations /might/ be better represented simply because they’re quicker to take up new technology than older generations. I’m sure previous generations would have done the same thing, they just didn’t have the opportunity. And I’m pretty sure it isn’t facebook or any other technology causing a personality change that’s behind it either. It is just that these technologies make it a lot easier to share yourself these days, and with lower barriers more people do so.

    Link to this
  3. 3. dubina 11:31 pm 02/4/2014

    Carin,

    As a population ecologist, you might know the USA birthrate is at an all-time low. American kids are more costly than ever before, and notably less grateful, as well. Not a good thing, imo.

    I will add two links to Adam Carrola, a comedian who has a way with words on this topic.

    http://www.thewrap.com/media/article/adam-carolla-occupy-wall-street-self-entitled-monsters-33248

    http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/in-fifty-years-well-all-be-chicks-adam-carolla/1100162000?ean=9780307717382

    Here’s a link to Jim Flynn on the matter of generational differences. You infer the normality and adaptation of narcissism in modern social environments (and you may be right), but I see no upside to the self-entitled behavior you find fun and adaptive today. Honestly, it’s a real downer for an old guy like me. Put yourself in my shoes and watch as many Super Bowl ads as you can bear to watch, paying close attention to the implicit entitlement of American women (who control 75% of discretionary family spending) and the skyrocketing value of happiness as a marketing device.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/04/education/edlife/james-r-flynn-on-rising-iqs.html?_r=0

    I hope you will publish your findings on this topic, or at least make them available to me. I also hope you receive more comments than mine and the preceding two. It’s an issue that should be taken to task.

    Link to this
  4. 4. indigoanalysis 10:26 pm 02/6/2014

    This is actually very relieving. It is amazing to think how selfies are making you more honest, unlike what popular uplifting blogs show it to be.
    Gives me a reason to keep up with my online-social activity. Before this, several times I have though about starving myself of social media because it was making me narcissistic.

    Link to this
  5. 5. gmartfin 2:23 pm 02/10/2014

    17 million “UPLODED”??? Really?

    Link to this

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