Willem Treur – The narcissism paradox on social media

People who on social media fishing for recognition for their good deeds and virtues are terrible. And also a good reason to never check Instagram or Twitter. Because no matter how hard you try to influence the algorithm in such a way that you don’t see posts in which people display compassion, suffering or good deeds, you do get to see those posts a lot, always.

Moreover, the concept of ‘curling toes’ has taken on new dimensions since celebrities have also found their way to social media. They don’t miss an opportunity to push everything and everyone away as a kind of alderman Hekking for the greater honor and glory of themselves. For celebrities it is quite normal to post a photo of their sun-tanned ass dressed in a sponsored string bikini on social media with a sad story about poor children in Bangladesh.

tasteless narcissism

But mere mortals also love these bizarre combinations. Like the people who let themselves be photographed in a weird pose at the holocaust monument or sexy with their ass back have your picture taken during an excursion to Auschwitz. All examples of tasteless narcissism that do not fit within this new society that we are all making.

Luckily there’s the brave Twitter account How Can I Make This About Me?† This account is entirely devoted to exposing the narcissism that ruins everything on social media. A commendable thing, and not just in a metaphorical sense.

Oscars for the Internet

Last May 25 there was the ninth edition of The Best Social Awards. A grand and festive event. According to Wikipedia a kind of Oscars, but in Dutch, and for the internet. A nice comparison because hardly anyone watches the Oscars.

Now all 700 awards of course equally beautiful and beautiful, but today we look with special attention to the winner in the category Best Twitterer. That award was won by none other than the – anonymous – account How Can I Make This About Me? Because why the hell would you have a award give to someone who personally stands for their content? That would be very easy.

A picture of your butt every day

I must confess that I was laughing so hard at the suckers at first How Can I Make This About Me? Nice stairs down, I don’t know those people anyway. Or stairs, in the case of famous people, there’s nothing wrong with that. But slowly the feeling came over me that I was doing something wrong. Because – with the exception of showing your buttocks at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum – what are the unsuspecting victims, who are mercilessly put through the cracks by this pillory account, actually doing wrong?

Is posting a picture of your buttocks every day not exactly what we expect from a influencer† What difference does it make if they add a meaningless text about the meaning of life? Surely everyone can’t just follow them out of disgust?

Or when someone has died posting a photo with you and the deceased and sharing an anecdote about something you went through together, is that really so tacky? Is the only good response sober to express your sincere condolences and then immediately fade into the background out of piety?

And celebrities who film their own face during Max Verstappen’s winning of the Formula 1 World Championship, isn’t such a reaction exactly what people want to see who follow the account of a celebrity? Or would they rather all celebrities have a highlight real posting the race that everyone has just seen for themselves?

moral hyenas

According to the eighty thousand fans of How Can I Make This About Me? this is definitely not possible. But how anti-peristaltic movement-inducing some people get social media as they may be, they are not half as repulsive as the pillory fanatics who get bloodshot genitals because they feel so morally superior to them.

There is now a trend where people in large groups seek confirmation about who they look down the most and best. And to continue to satisfy the hunger of the moral hyenas, the threshold is lowered a little further every day.

Narcissism paradox

The pinnacle of this race to the bottom is laughing at socially less gifted Facebook boomers who awkwardly bring out their own experience in an effort to empathize. under a Dragonfly-article on Facebook about Esmee (25) who could not bear to have a lifeless child in her belly, a woman responds by saying that she has just brought a beautiful and healthy child into the world and is about to be fired. be discharged from the hospital. “What a sadness. Lots of strength,” the woman concludes. Obviously a socially very awkward response, but I dare to put my hand in the fire that it is her intention to express sincere condolences.

In reality lays How Can I Make This About Me? not expose the narcissism of the people in the messages, but the narcissism of the people who explain below how incredibly far she be above it. Like bargain hunters during the Three Foolish Days, the moral superiors push each other aside to be the first to point out how we should treat each other in this country. There is no room for a subtle or nuanced conversation, this harrowing suffering requires a digital witch-burning.

And now that I think about all this again, the way in which I wave the moral finger at the people who wave the moral finger is not entirely fresh either. I will probably gather digital wood myself, then you can set it on fire later.


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