There seem to be primarily three kinds of people on Twitter (in my world anyway, and for reasons you will soon understand, it’s all about MY Twitter world): the writers/editors/readers who use it to share information, post blogs, support each other during NaNo and promote new projects; the politicos who love to discuss current affairs; and the Narcissists. And I’m not saying you can’t be a combination of two or all three. In fact, I consider myself Exhibit A, right here.
Believe me, I’m not saying “narcissist” like it’s a bad thing. Much like “diva,” “princess,” and “alpha male,” the word “narcissist” is used as a derogatory term by those who either misunderstand our intentions or are jealous of them.
Narcissism is good. If you don’t believe in yourself, nobody else will.
So here I am on day 3 of the Great Twitter Fast of 2011 and my inner narcissist is losing her shit.
Not to mention that I haven’t even been completely successful in my goal to neither tweet nor read my Twitter stream. I admit it: I’ve peeked. And yes, at one point on Monday I tweeted about how hilarious The Atheists’ Guide to Christmas is. And perhaps once I tweeted how hard it was to NOT tweet–okay, maybe more than once. And maybe I looked at my Twitter stream a couple of dozen times on Monday. And Tuesday.
It’s a PROCESS, people! This journey will make me a better Tweeter, but I fear it might make me a much worse narcissist.
Narcissism is generally defined as excessive self-love or admiration of yourself. To take it a step further, some mental health professionals feel there is an erotic/sexual component to it, and yes, spend some time reading anyone’s Twitter stream and you could probably make that argument.
According to Wikipedia, “’narcissism’ was coined by Freud in reference to Narcissus, who in Greek mythology was a pathologically self-absorbed young man who fell in love with his own reflection in a pool. Freud believed that some narcissism is an essential part of all of us from birth. Andrew P. Morrison claims that, in adults, a reasonable amount of healthy narcissism allows the individual’s perception of his needs to be balanced in relation to others.”
The New Heritage Dictionary of American Cultural Literacy defines narcissism as “a consuming self-absorption or self-love, a type of egotism. Narcissists constantly assess their appearance, desires, feelings, and abilities.”
Bingo. THAT, right there, my friends–that definition could be used to define a“Tweeter”.
Yup, that definition is from a dictionary for cultural literacy. We are a culture of narcissists, and the rampant use of social media—particularly Twitter, Facebook, personal blogs, YouTube—by just about everybody is both proliferating it and, quite simply, making it okay.
In abstaining from Twitter, I’ve missed making random statements that refer to nothing in particular, like “Naughty is the new nice,” just to see who will respond and what they will say. I like letting the world know that I am eating the most delicious chicken soup ever or that I’ve just lost my morning cup of coffee somewhere in my house. My followers may not care, but that doesn’t matter. I’ve been given my forum and I can enjoy the illusion (delusion?) that they do.
And then there are some of the people I follow—flashes of nudity used for avis, announcements of sexual intent or sexual achievement, drunk tweeting (dweeting), announcements first that they are horny, and later, that they’ve done something about it, erotic stories told in 140-character blurbs…on Twitter, very little is off limits.
But somehow, these same people will tweet when they are crying, when they’ve had a death in the family, when they’ve broken up with their boyfriend, when their child loses her first tooth, when a co-worker says something obnoxious, and most importantly, when “Glee” is especially entertaining. And their Twitter friends rally, because it’s the right thing to do. It’s like your followers are saying, “You are SUCH a narcissist, and we LOVE that about you.”
I admit that there are things I will say on Twitter that I would never announce at work, to friends, or to complete strangers, not because they’re embarrassing or too personal, but because in the real world, “I’m wearing a leopard print bra,” or “Today is a red lipstick kind of day,” is inconsequential. On Twitter, it has import.
So tweet on, fellow narcissists. Because I’m back. And really, isn’t Twitter all about us?