Narcissism is an obnoxious thing whether online or in person but it’s portrayed differently in both settings. It’s easier to spot a narcissist on line it seems to me because there is less of a filter and it shows what that person wanted to tell all of their “friends” at that particular moment. If it’s something about themselves or something that they will think will make them look cool then they’re probably pretty narcissistic. The article by Carlson, Vazire and Oltmanns characterized how a narcissist’s brain works and what makes them think that they’re all that and a bag of chips. In the article they said “narcissists believe that everyone holds them as high as they hold them selves.” This belief is characterized in the online world by frequent insignificant status updates, frequent mobile uploads, and a high number of virtual friends which may include some they don’t know. In real life it may be a little more difficult to initially spot the narcissist. In real life they usually make a good first impression. People often think they’re really cool at first but with in a few weeks they start to see characteristics of dominant behavior and disagreeableness come out. In real life the conversation tends to always circle back to that person or something they did or know. I think of a narcissist as someone who if you don’t realize just how cool they are on your own they’ll help you. Arrogance and narcissism usually go hand in hand however narcissists are more self aware of this fact.
I found another article in the New York Times which discussed if it’s really narcissism or if people really believe that that’s the best way of keeping up with people. I found this interesting because it examined the fine line between being too self centered on the internet and just keeping people current with your life. I personally think that if your Facebook is not a compulsive need to update and get feedback from people you’re probably not a narcissist, you’re just a person who enjoys sharing with other people.
Carlson, E. N., Vazire, S., & Oltmanns, T. F. (2011). You Probably Think This Paper’s About You: Narcissists’ Perceptions of Their Personality and Reputation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 101(1), 185-201.