Internet Narcissism

I was just watching a video on CNN (I know, I don't know why, either.) It's a discussion of the NFL incident in which reporter Ines Sainz was catcalled by the Jets as she did her locker room reporting. (Holy moley, I thought that issue was settled in the 1980s!)

While that's enough fodder for a whole feminist screed right there, I'm going in a different direction today. Not long into the interview, Max Kellerman expresses incredible contempt that Sainz was Tweeting during this experience -- he seems to consider it a fundamentally narcissistic thing to do.

This got me to thinking: Why, exactly, do people think that talking about the minutiae of your life in digital media is narcissistic? Sharing experiences is the core of most interpersonal interaction, right? If you're hanging out with your friends or family or officemates, and you get to talking about what you had for breakfast, or how you don't like the new socks you bought because they itch, or whatever... that's just small talk. It's the lubrication that keeps interpersonal relationships running smoothly.

So when we move that same conversation to Twitter or Facebook, why is it suddenly narcissistic? After all, nobody is paying attention who doesn't want to. It's a self-selected interested group, your friends and followers.

Is it the perceived permanence of the media? Is it because we collectively assume a written format should be reserved for more grave subjects? Is it something else I'm not thinking about?

At any rate: I don't think it's narcissism. I think it's the same old monkey behavior we've always had, suddenly transferred to a new medium, and judged negatively by people who didn't grow up socalized to think of writing as cheap.

But I'm willing to be persuaded that I'm wrong. Let's take it away in comments, folks.


Get the Serial Box App for iOS | Android Coming Soon

Subscribe to the Season ebook & audio ($21.99 for 15 episodes)

Or Buy Single Episodes for Kindle | iBooks | Kobo | Nook ($1.99)