Why Narcissism Is Necessary on Twitter

I’ve been using Twitter actively for over a year now. Initially I started using it because I saw its potential benefits for my business. But after a couple of months, I started to absolutely love it. It became a means of expression for quick thoughts, photos, links, whatever, that wouldn’t normally be a blog post.

And I’ve heard from a couple of people I highly respect that there is a tendency for narcissism on Twitter – that there is a tendency to make it ONLY about you.

But as I began to reflect on that, I realized I WANT those I follow to be narcissistic via Twitter.

I follow people because I want to know ALL about them and their lives and thoughts.

I want to know if they are in the Atlanta airport. I want to see photos of everything they do. I click on Twitpics all the time for people I’m not even interested in just to see what other people are like. I love photos! I think many other people do too.

Why? Because I feel connected to them in some way.

This includes business people.

I follow every relevant business person because I want to know what they are up to, if they have a new product coming out, or links to things they share.

I follow all our team on Twitter.

I do this because I’m genuinely interested in their lives. I want to know what movies they are seeing. I want to talk trash with them. I want to know about their adventures.

A good friend of mine said that “Twitter cuts out the small talk.” I love that!

Recently, one of my partners walked into our office and asked Matt if he was still in a good mood. Matt was a little shocked. But my partner follows Matt on Twitter and knew he had just tweeted about being in a great mood.

I’ve been at conferences and someone will come up and introduce themselves to me and they’ll start right in about something I’ve shared via Twitter.

If they follow me, they probably follow those on our team. And they probably know the TV shows I watch, that I have two Yorkies that are our kids. They probably know I had been to Vegas recently.

And when we meet in person for the first time, it’s probably like connecting with friends you haven’t seen in a long time but keep up with in a passive way. I love those experiences, because we can indeed skip all that small talk and talk like we see each other every day. For me, this all helps further deepen a relationship we’ve built online through Twitter.

So I’m all for narcissism on Twitter … and if I don’t care about you, then I’ll unfollow. Just like you’ll do to me!

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5 responses to “Why Narcissism Is Necessary on Twitter”

  1. Yes, but while you may want all of the people you follow to talk about themselves, the practice of being so narcissistic isn’t necessarily good for them. In fact, one could say it is narcissistic of you to want everyone else to act with narcissism in order to get you what you want. I say “you” but of course I mean me as well because we all think about ourselves too much.

    I’m not saying I have the ultimate answer here, but I do think that narcissism needs to be guarded against. It’s a complex issue, but I would shy away from encouraging narcissism.

  2. Great point, Tim … yes, you’re right. I can’t generally stand those who are narcissistic in person.

    “Beware the ‘Me’ Monster” -Brian Reagan, comedian

    If it’s more about “look at me and how great I am” then definitely not. If it’s more, ‘here’s some fun things I like to share,’ then I like it, much like I surf people’s Flickr streams.

    It boils down to I just enjoy knowing what (certain) people are like. I think it should be used however you want … but when it’s used as a means of expressing and sharing your life with others, that’s pretty cool to me.

  3. Totally agree. I tell people nowadays the conversations start here (here being Twitter and Social Media). We’re so strapped for time that the conversations we used to enjoy on the phone, at the coffee table, via long emails and at events are happening here. They still end up at the coffee shop, in the board room, or on the business trip; but the conversations start in these new spaces online.

    It’s like a jumpstart on getting to know someone. It’s the personal facts that lead the way and make the business stuff interesting.

    When I think narcissistic: I think jerk, completely self absorbed, one way dialogues, not much humility. I’m not for that. I am- all for the kind of narcissism that tells me about you, your day, your family, your life and your business. Without that, Twitter would be one big ad stream.

  4. Bryce, excellent feedback. Thanks for sharing …. you’re right on.

  5. Twitter absolutely encourages narcissism, that’s why it is so successful, people are by nature narcissistic they like to talk about themselves, some people to the point where it is unbearable to have a conversation with them in real life.

    I can proudly say that I am not a narcissistic person and as a result of that I have had a really hard time getting into twitter. I just have a hard time posting about things going on in my life that I am pretty sure no one cares about. I do have a twitter and it’s probably updated a few times a month.

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