Social media, narcissism, and oversharing
Social media, narcissism, and oversharing
In contemporary times, people seem to share over when they interact on the social media platform via computers and smart phones. Oversharing in the internet age simply means that people would more likely divulge too much information involving their self and things like their sexuality for instance, more than they would possibly do in person. Facebook, Twitter and blogging have become major avenues for oversharing as the world shifts fast to an internet era that is seeing the phasing out of physical interaction with the replacement of virtual interaction. The internet has come to breach the thin boundary between private and public life. Shawn McIntosh and John Pavlick, in the book Converging Media explore that ‘there has always been a social component with media’. But importantly, they see to highlight why social media is more ‘social’ than traditional media CITATION Pav p 242 l 2057 (Pavlik and McIntosh 242). This paper has sought to explore that we now live a much more public life while acknowledging that the internet has provided us with such a platform that enables us to veer off from the norm. This paper in part supports the notion of Agar that the Internet has introduced a whole new concept of social life that encourages oversharing.
Erving Goffman adopted a very powerful socialistic approach on social life from Shakespeare. This concept states that the world can be viewed as a stage platform with us humans being the actors trying to follow our scripts. Reading through the scripts, we often forget the original lines and improvise them to fit our set up. The presentation of self in everyday life by Erving Goffman has vividly captured this concept. The author is of the opinion that, even in our everyday life, we have roles that are assigned to us. Sociology draws from this insight, which enables it to explain what guides our daily behavior. Like in the real setting, the analogy of the stage too has a backstage, where one could go and revert to their true self. This very place that has been described as the back stage is home, where we can go and be ourselves and live our private lives. However, this has rapidly changed; the Internet has breached this private setting and even invaded the most private of our homesteads.
The contemporary experience of social life is by all means different. Agger reexamines this very notion through his many socialistic approaches. The internet age has brought with itself a new form of social interaction that has little regard for personal life. It is this phenomenon that Aggar seeks to address. This topic is however a complex one based on just how much sharing is considered oversharing.
According to Agger, the internet sort of blurs social boundaries. The setting of the internet causes individuals to be more inclined to sharing as opposed to consuming information. Arguably, this is true because the internet is filled with personal information compared to information being shared. This is the true concept of oversharing. Agger thinks that those who do not use the Internet either cannot afford it or have no access to it. Otherwise, the whole world is currently too much involved in using the internet.
A good example of the whole concept of oversharing is highlighted by Gould, a blogger that initially worked for a blog called gowker.com. This website was majorly involved in sharing private information about celebrities by following up their lifestyles to the heart of New York City in a bid to unravel the details surrounding their private lives. Gould later wrote a book in which she regrets about sharing too much information concerning her private life and sexuality. Interestingly, the book is in itself an overshare since it too has the various aspects of having too much information concerning private life. The book, Converging Media by McIntosh and John Pavlick explores a slightly different form of blogging called microblogs that encourage sharing of shorter posts about self. Such a setting is exemplified by Twitter in which over 10% of users have been shown to share approximately 80% content about themselves CITATION Pav p 251 l 2057 (Pavlik and McIntosh 251). The authors further explore the concept of agenda setting in social media in which blogs set up the main topic and let users contribute.
Equally, the Marxists concepts are important in explaining the trends of internet social change. Some of the concepts highlighted in Marxist Internet trends include capitalism, dialect, and communism among others. The current generation has seen the transformation of how information flows. The technological advancements in the field of communication are amazing. No wonder people are more inclined to share too much information due to the simplicity of doing so as compared to the past. Smartphones, computers and anything that allows people to share information make people communication robots. Accessing communication platforms become habitual. The danger of this is of course the fact that this kind of social interaction has threatened to invade our lives and time. The current generation is at a risk of getting addicted to communication platforms and devices evident from how social media has been bombarded with information about us. Perhaps, this can be explained by the Marxist concept in a contemporary context.
Facebook is not merely a social website. It has been seen by many as the center of sharing private information that Agger describes it as the biggest vehicle among all for oversharing. This website allows one to share information about personal relationships together with allowing one to have thousands of friends who are partly virtual. Despite the fact that one can restrict access to their personal profiles, Facebook is still the biggest avenue with which people have exposed too much information about themselves. Google has not been left behind. The company has also invented their sharing platform called Google+. The Marxist theory explains this better. For instance, Marxist theories had predicted the emergence of the importance of technology and communication CITATION Fus12 p 3 l 2057 (Fuschs and Dyer-Witheford 3). Likely have other social media websites such as Twitter and LinkedIn. All this has been in a bid tom let people share information and to interact online. However, little regard has been given to the fact that such media platforms only result in people being social narcissist whole opt to share information about themselves online. The same people still find it difficult to physically interact if met. The game of social interaction has totally shifted. People sort of find a comfort behind computers and smartphones, too much comfort that gives them the audacity to share information that they would hardly share in real life.
The computer is seen to be the invention behind the sharing that we witness today. However, recently, computers have been revolutionized. Computers are no longer bulky objects; they are portable and easily accessible. In fact, Smartphone is small computers. Who would not be tempted to share information about themselves with such gadgets around?
People wake up every day to access social media websites, emails and other sharing platforms that provide convenient ways of communicating. Arguably, the Marxist theory of dialect applies to explain this better. This theory explores the gradual transformation of the internet age.The internet has its unwritten rules and principles; it has its language code of writing in shorthand. In the same strength, Agger’s book explores the extents to which private life has fast become too public. The details are perplexing. Just like Agger scholars have gotten concerned with the oversharing that is alive today, Agger has chosen to address this issue in great detail, yet with a different touch of knowledge. Agger is careful not to oppose connectivity, rather, he criticizes the round the clock connectivity that we are witnessing today. In this context, democracy is favored for ‘deboundarying’.
On should however be careful to distinguish between genuine communication and narcissistic tendencies when using the internet. Everyone loves using the internet for social purposes. However, there is a thin line between just communicating and oversharing. In his book, Agger argues that the definition of sharing in the social sense has been transformed in the contemporary setting. In his opinion, sharing initially meant that one was for instance splitting dessert with their partner. In the contemporary setting, sharing has been revolutionized to apply to the setting where one splits their guts to the public and expose every sense of their private life.
Social boundaries are difficult to distinguish. It is debatable as to what aspects of social life should be concealed and what should be shared freely. Marxism explains that there is a danger that the sharing of information to the public domain can cause a breach in privacy by encouraging surveillance based on such platforms as Google. Observers consider this as the greatest breach in the privacy of internet users. The internet has seen the shifting of what kind of information is shared in the public domain. Oversharing has meant that people immerse themselves in a state where they rely on too much gossip in trying to relay information about themselves. As opposed to the real setting, too much information gets to the public domain on the internet. Without the internet in place, too much information would be most unlikely shared.
The complex phenomenon of oversharing and its psychiatry has meant that the self-has been under siege due to this new age of technology. Scholars just like Agger argue whether the true self is still functional or whether people act so as to fit into the situation. Possibly, people tend to share information based on the situation that is facing them. It would be difficult to distinguish someone’s true views because people tend to shift their opinion based on the situation that faces them in the social media platform. Social media interaction has introduced an interesting case of marketing of personality. People essentially tell stories of themselves in a way we would most oblige to hear. Two personality disorders have been highlighted as having caused such events; narcissistic and borderline personality disorders. In this aspect an individual may gain grandiosity of self-worth just by sharing information on social platforms.
The psychiatric disorders mentioned above are thought to stem from esteem issues. The author gives special attention to the connection between the mind and the body and what goes on a social narcissist’s mind while using the internet. Perhaps this information will provide insight to the exact events that take place in shaping the internet robots that we have had to witness in the contemporary times. Emotional and social problems are in part due to the psychiatric aspect that is introduced due to social media involvement in sharing information.
The internet age has come with individuals who cherish the feeling of self-importance. Narcissistic tendencies and grandiose delusions of self-worth go hand in hand. Despite the internet providing a platform on which people seek to share social and even important information, there has emerged a missing link as to why people sort of concentrate in sharing too much about personal information. The objectives of internet sharing have rapidly shifted, from sharing important information to now a situation where too much of the information involves self. Narcissists often have south to project themselves above other people. This is due to the feeling of self-worth at the expense of other people in the society. Further, Agger has sought to show the link between the health trends and use of the internet. People tend to crave and prefer junk foods such as chocolates. This fits perfectly in the context of linking sedentary lifestyles, lifestyle diseases and internet addiction.
In conclusion, a lot has been transformed with the invention of the internet. Marxism has been dragged into this debate due to the relevance in explaining some of the concepts. Marxism condemns the extent to which capitalistic societies have exploited the internet to their advantage. The contemporary setting has seen the emergence of social media narcissists who stop at no cost to express their deluded feeling of self-worth. Importantly, the ease of using the internet has enabled many people to use it. However, the anonymous social nature of this platform has come to mean that people are less cautious about sharing information that touches on their private lives. The internet age has meant that the private life has been breached. Agger has perfectly captured this same situation in his book in a way that explains how this has come about. One just needs to put a little focus on these claims to realize how much the internet has taken society by storm. However, Agger tends to concentrate too much on the connection between the mind and the social actions of social media users forgetting to explore other aspects of this complex phenomenon.
The internet is complex in all its aspects, importantly, the way it strongly influences our social interactions. A lot of information has been floated on the internet due to the efficient nature of communication. However, it has become very easy to get distracted by these events that one can easily become addicted to using the internet. The facts concerning internet use have been intrigued. It is this that scholars like Agger seek to explore.
BIBLIOGRAPHY Agger, Ben. Oversharing: Presentations of self in the internet age. New York: Routledge, 2015. Print.
Fuschs, Christian and Nick Dyer-Witheford. “Karl Marx @ Internet Students.” Sage Publication (2012): 2-15. Print.
Pavlik, John V. and Shawn McIntosh. Media. Oxford: Oxford University Press, n.d. Print.
Ross, Jen. “Just what is being reflected in online reflection? New literacies for new media learning practices.” Dirckinck-Holmfeld, Lone, Vivien Hodgson and David McConnell. Exploring the theory, pedagogy and practice of networked learning. New York: Springer, 2011. 191-207. Print.