Narcissism: The Fuel that Drives Web 2.0 (I)

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Be afraid! Technology is the enemy!

In researching and blogging on the topic of narcissism in the classical music business I have run across one belief more than once. Web 2.0 — blogs and social networks in particular — are driven by narcissism.

Social media is to blame for this growing trend. It’s all about me, me, me — the notion goes — so much so that Generation Y is many times referred to as “Generation Me.”

An interview of Jean M. Twenge Ph.D, author of The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement, on NBC’s Today Show sums it up the fear:

Ms. Twenge places some of the blame on the self-esteem movement that started in 1980’s. She suggests that the rising trend in narcissism is getting worse due to the widespread availability and usage of social networking.

Brand names like Facebook , YouTube and MySpace are synonymous with selfish attention-seeking, she asserts.

» Taking a step back

There is nothing new or shocking here really. In grasping for answers, society loves to blame its social ills and moral issues on the media and at technology.

A few examples from history:

  • Jazz music is amoral and it encourages drug use and premarital sex.
  • The horseless carriage (the automobile) will lead to social anarchy and the ultimate extinction of the horse.
  • The birth control pill will lead women into promiscuity and will destroy the family unit.

These are just a few examples. Technology and the media have always been popular scapegoats for society’s perceived failings.

Is this fair and accurate? Perhaps not.

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