Identifying narcissism in today’s digital age


Millennials may have ushered in the era of narcissism, but they are no longer responsible for its durability. Everyone else has caught up to the “toxic self-absorption” that plagues the western world.

It’s already hard enough to tell the work of an amafessional from a true artist that takes their work seriously. Everyone owns their own Instagram and Twitter microphone. So how do you pinpoint a narcissist in the age of social media me-ness?

Writer Kristin Dombeck offers some ideas on how to identify a modern day narcissist in the n+1 magazine.

The narcissist acts like a rock star

“Narcissists are the most popular kids at school. They are rock stars. They are movie stars. They are not really rock stars or movie stars, but they seem like they are. They may tell you that you are the only one who really sees them for who they really are, which is probably a trick.”

The narcissist is callous

“He cannot feel other people’s feelings, but he is uncannily good at figuring out how to demolish yours.”

The narcissist won’t do the right thing

“The narcissist, in contrast, always chooses to act in exactly such a way that if everyone were to follow suit, the world would go straight to hell.”

The narcissist aims to dupe you

“The narcissist has a priori no empathy, yours is just applause to her, and she is not just fake, but evil.”

So what do we do when we face a narcissist for the first time? Do we find the quickest exit and run a “5K right there in the middle of the cocktail party?” Consider self-reflection.

Perhaps we’re all a bit narcissistic, no more superior than the emptiness of emotion that the pixels display on our screens. Some people bath in ‘selfieness’ while others prefer to get a little wet.

Arts Productivity & Work Tech

Toots and Nods

We live in the age of selfie narcissism that begs people to pay attention to their own face and their own work. But tweeting our own horn is a bit passé.

We’re all in danger of sounding like a press release. Showing off in our shares just becomes noise to other people. We look like an ass.

I’m not suggesting that we hoard our work. We should always be sharing our work, teaching what we learn, revealing our processes, and embracing our ‘scenius.’.

“You have to start pointing your attention toward the world that you want to enter. If you want to get fans, you have to start out as a fan.”

Austin Kleon

We should try limit sharing our own work only to the point that it helps others or contributes to the conversation. Our main focus should be showing appreciation to others, giving them credit for helping us formulate our own ideas.

Despite the rise of anonymous social networks like Secret and Whisper, the web still prospers around authenticity. As creators, students, and teachers, we need the honest feedback so we can keep getting better.


“In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” – Andy Warhol

It’s already here.  Teens are micro-celebrities.  They expect narcissism.  It’s the fame game but is it so bad?  

Still, some prefer anonymity


The Internet ‘Narcissism Epidemic’

We suspect part of the rise in narcissism is being driven by Internet tools. What is clear is that social media platforms are frequently used by those with narcissistic tendencies to feed their egos. These same applications are used by millions of others to build their businesses, coordinate events, and maintain close ties with friends and families.

We live in a celebrity culture. Social media tears down the walls and gives everyone the semblance of fame. The network effect is a boost for personality and a boon for business, depending on your goals. If you just want to feel relevant, post something engaging.

Another hit?