Narcissism: The Fuel that Drives Web 2.0 (II)

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While it is believable that inherent narcissism may be inflamed by social networking, it is difficult to believe that something as fundamental as a void in empathy can be fostered or born from something so fleeting and trivial as online social networking.

Narcissism is an inherent character flaw. And it is something formed in early childhood.

Like in the Arts, Web 2.0 does not nurture narcissism so much as it attracts people with that disorder.

In that sense — yes — I would agree that Web 2.0 can indeed bring out the worst in us. While it may play a factor, it is not so much the slippery slope that leads the innocent down a dark path.

The danger lies not so much in some external influence, but rather in ourselves. The horse after all, leads the cart — not the other way around.

» A recent study

Another recent report from the University of Southern California states that the immediate information from social networking sites is simply too fast for the brain’s “moral compass” to process. The constancy and quantity of it can even damage a youth’s emotional development.

“For some kinds of thought, especially moral decision-making about other people’s social and psychological situations, we need to allow for adequate time and refection,” said Immordio-Yang [a researcher in the study].

She said the study raises questions about the emotional cost, particularly for young people, of heavy reliance on a torrent of news snippets delivered via TV and online feeds such as Twitter.

She said: “We need to understand how social experience shapes interactions between the body and mind, to produce citizens with a strong moral compass.”

USC sociologist Manuel Castells said the study raised more concerns over fast-moving TV than the online environment.

“In a media culture in which violence and suffering becomes an endless show, be it in fiction or in infotainment, indifference to the vision of human suffering gradually sets in.”

Here, I believe, lies a kernel of truth.

» Additional resources:

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