Are We a Narcissistic Generation?

From baby boomer to generation X, Y, Z, the digital development has enabled us to be a self show off. Does this ongoing trend prove that we really love ourselves that much?

modernism

Technology advancement has pushed modern humans: those who claim themselves as advance adopters,  fast forward thinkers, and trendsetters, to constantly update status over the course of various social media platforms. It extends not only to individuals, but also loyally adopted by corporations, organizations, and sometimes even fictional characters (yes, the nonexistent also updates their statuses often). This is an era where like-ability and influence-meter are measured differently, with followers number, comments, and virtual friends sneak in as parameter.

The phenomenon leaves us exposed with over-pouring thoughts, life updates, photos, and plenty other private news on a daily basis. That information is presented as the post-modern way of connecting by eliminating geographical boundaries and escalating access to what used to be private business. The use of social media later becomes a sort of confidence booster—a pertinent key for those who wish to enter a higher class in society. The title of “cool,” “popular,” or “influential” is deemed by number of followers. Which, in this everything-connected age, makes a lot of sense, really. Being one of the most informative and real time sources, online canals emerge as desired destinations for everyone to be in.

Being one of the most informative and real time sources, online canals emerge as desired destinations for everyone to be in.

The wave of digital trend later enable charming personas to appear. Slowly, everyone seems to invest interest and effort in building online presence, as such that the “higher caste” is no longer exclusive. They can be practically anyone—a kid who blatantly talks about sex, a journalist who voices bitter truth, or a simple, pretty girl next door. It can be us. We secretly wish for secret admirers and fans for we breathe in the world of sharing: morning thoughts, picture of today’s breakfast/lunch/dinner—you name it, today’s pet cuteness, fashion inspiration, everyday outfit—every possible thing. And we want others to enjoy every bit we share. More often than not, the information given is too much, too personal, too unimportant for the whole world to know. But hey, this is digital liberality in which everyone deserves to be who they are and do what they like as long as they have registered their emails.

The mentality of narcissism is cheered upon, with stamp of approval on coolness or un-coolness shadows the freedom of expressing.

It is undeniable, still, that in the act of telling and sharing there lies a need to be listened to. By giving people a peek into our life, we want them to like us. Such premise is further cultivated in today’s social relationship building, that yields two possibilities: 1. We grow into a person so full of ourselves, a generation who is eager to share without the willingness to listen; or 2. We become insecure with who we are, what we share, and who our real companions are. The mentality of narcissism is cheered upon, with stamp of approval on coolness or un-coolness shadows the freedom of expressing.

Through the endless scrolling of newest updates where the love of thyself can blossom in satisfaction or envy, content feeling of acknowledgement or desperate seek of social approval, an arrangement of future self centered society may begin. At some points it seems that anything is worth trying for to win the title of popularity. A handful is not even doubtful to portray different personality online. Some even become acute addicts—not realizing that they are not portraying their true self but instead fitting themselves into unwritten digital popularity rules. Should we be so desperately in need of digital existence if we really love ourselves? Because it sounds torturing to say the least.  

Text: Gabriela Yosefina.
Image: Giorgio Del Buono’s project on visualizing five countries’ modernism years. Take a closer look at this work here.