So, I had a cup of coffee this morning before hopping on the 6:44am and, oh, I bumped into O.P. on the platform…

I'm in the process of 'de-friending' and 'de-linking' from those contacts on Facebook and LinkedIn  NARCISSIST who continually spam me with useless personal information or event invitation. Who needs either?

The most egregious are the Facebook addicts who feel compelled to share such scintillating personal news as:

– “Went para-sailing before work today. What a rush! And what a great way to start my day.”
– “Summer's over and the kids are back in school. Oh well. It can't last forever.”
– “Cousin Shlomo, it was great seeing you and the entire McWorthington Clan over Labor Day.”

Two new studies show that frequent Facebook users are either narcissists or individuals who suffer from low self-esteem. That makes sense. Their daily non-news items are either saying, “Am I wonderful, or what?” Or “God, please pay attention to me.”

One of the surveys, conducted by researchers at San Diego State University, focused on 18-25 year-old Facebook users and found that 60 percent use the social media tool for “self promotion” and “attention getting.” The second report, issued by Toronto's York University, confirmed the SDSU findings and said continually posting new photographs and updating one's profiles indicate either a narcissistic personality or low self-esteem.

I'll be the first to admit that I like having my kids post photos on my Facebook page of my most recent mountain, rock and ice climbing sojourns. But, you'll never catch me posting something like, “Watched Jersey Shore with Catharine last night. How naive is Sammie?” Or “Pool water is still warm. Snuck in one last swim last night.”

I'm go further out on a limb here and guess that people aren't interested in knowing that I'm wearing green slacks and a black-and-white striped golf shirt today. Or, that I'm toying with the idea of wearing a suit to tomorrow's 8am client meeting. Who cares? Hell, I don't even care.

So, do the world a favor and save those inane, meaningless and narcissistic wall posts like, “Cannot wait for this Saturday when the girls will be over to discuss The Art of Racing in the Rain. I'll bet Lucy hated it!” No one cares about your life, but you.

Two other quick points:

– LinkedIn updates are equally banal. Who cares if Beckwith in accounting has updated his photo? He obviously does. But the rest of us sure don't.
– In the interests of full transparency, I've already outed myself as a narcissistic boss (see my 'Crazy Bosses' blog). But, those traits don't bleed over to the virtual world.

Facebook and LinkedIn serve a few, useful purposes. But, keep telling me your mundane, daily rituals and you'll a) undermine your image and b) find yourself de-friended by more than one disinterested party.

26 thoughts on “So, I had a cup of coffee this morning before hopping on the 6:44am and, oh, I bumped into O.P. on the platform…

  1. I also pledge not to mention wardrobe either, however, I will be speaking of by tennis, my bike, your wife, our friends and all other banalaties of life. I’ll be “friending” you later.

  2. I hereby pledge not to comment on my wardrobe selections, or complain about the flat tires or near misses I encounter in commuting by bicycle.

  3. Very insightful, Phil (I’m assuming you’re the Lakers’ coach, yes?). I’ll miss you. But, here’s the difference between what you perceive my message to be and what it actually is. I’ve yet to tell you my daily fashion habits or whether my kids have returned to school, or other banalities. Instead, I try to relate each and every blog to the image and reputation issues inherent in Facebooking, religion, business, hotel management, etc. This particular blog was far from mean-spirited. I’m sorry you’re leaving, but I’m glad you took the time to explain why. BTW, the orange bath mat was all about the hotel’s image and reputation. Ditto with Summer’s reputation. And NJT’s attempts to manage its image. There’s a higher calling to this blog which has somehow escaped you.

  4. Understood, Frank. I like the Borg drone analogy. Were they modeled after Irene? She was as close to a human robot as anyone I’ve ever known.

  5. I’d like to think that Repman has provided a true public service by connecting Peter with bookandblogeek. Just promise me you two won’t post updates on your daily wardrobe selections.

  6. Facebook is an outlet where the “ordinary” human being can feel like a famous celebrity with thousands of “fans” who they believe are interested in the daily minutiae of their lives. It’s their own virtual Red Carpet. Bottom line: Cultivating “real” friends takes much more time and effort than touting these fake ones on Facebook.

  7. This mean-spirited blog entry is really ironic and I’ll tell you why. You use your blog as your own personal version of FB – I don’t care that you slip and crack your whatever on an orange bath mat somewhere on the other side of the world, I care even less that you don’t like the three H’s and if I read one more whiney entry on your dislike of NJ Transit etc etc, well, see what I mean? In between the whinging you sometimes post an informative piece of writing. So, guess what? While you’re behaving like a slighted schoolboy I’ve un-bookmarked (if that’s the right term) your blog.

  8. Not conflicted because I had no control over the billing process. Once you passed through its doors, you immediately transformed into a Borg drone.
    My point was if Facebook went away, how long would it take for anyone to really care? I like it; I participate on it, but in the end, it would be one less distraction.

  9. bookandbloggeek — if you look me up at FB and LinkedIn and send a note IDing yourself, I’ll friend you. Who knows, maybe my wife will too.

  10. Bob’s point,(if people didn’t update FB…it would cease to exist), reminds me of those disturbing Japanese mechanical “pets” that you had to “feed” and “entertain” and “stimulate” or they would die. So the Facebook-aholics keep updating, so they will not disappear into the scary abyss of one-on-one interaction with real people! Keep updating! It will save your cyber-life and assure your place in humanity!

  11. Well stated, Peter. I don’t believe the action of updating is necessarily narcissistic, unless of course the person doing it is using self-aggrandizing or congratulatory language that screams, “look at me!” But, if people didn’t update Facebook as much as they do, it would cease to exist. And that leaves me conflicted.

  12. I think maybe what Rep is speaking of is the sense of self-importance Facebook addicts have. People who are compelled to document the minutiae of their lives have a skewed view of the world around them. I know people who brag about the number of friends they have on FB. This collection of electronic contacts is the “popularity contest” of our age, and it is as meaningless as the people who actually think that many people care. Of course it’s lovely to bump into a friend you haven’t seen for a long time. But that doesn’t mean you want to establish a never-ending pipeline of information about them and their family and their children and their friends. It’s all too TOO much. Some info may be interesting, but mostly it’s mind-numbing drivel.

  13. Yes I would agree and I block farmville and mafia wars and pieces of flair (or is it flare?) I don’t play games and I don’t “like” something. I ignore that stuff. If what someone is doing is interesting to me or amusing or might get me out of the house, I respond. If not, it just floats on by. So Peter’s wife is right, it is like running into someone on the street and actually catching up. I wonder why we are not “friends” on FB? Hmmm

  14. Of course much of it is narcissism. Those we are criticize consistently fail to understand that it’s not all about them.
    Still, even with all the privacy implications, I like Facebook. My wife has the best description of its purpose: “it’s like walking down the street and catching up with everyone you know.”
    There’s nothing wrong with getting a little gossip, a little good news, some sad news, some over-sharing, some very sincere advocacy for something. If you’re not in the mood for it, it’s simple — you tune out.
    My own FB approach is to encourage an action by the audience. That means sharing news and articles that might be of interest, pictures of places I’d like others to see, events, ideas, bits of music or video, or just something goofy/funny to bring light to people’s day.
    I know, it sounds suspiciously like….marketing. But to me, these communications outlets have to offer something to others. If not, why bother?
    At the same time, I’ve blocked family members and friends because I don’t care where they’re having margaritas, how many cows they bought in Farmville, nor will I contribute humorous commentary to their mock Kim Jong il FB page. Again, it’s not all about you.
    LinkedIn and other “professional” sites are really more like “Dragnet” — just the facts. In my case, that means relevant industry trends or (especially) job listings. Same thing, though — I’m looking for a reaction. I skip the rest, and expect others to do the same.

  15. But, bookanadbloggeek, would you not agree some of the updates are completely mindless? For example, who cares if my business partner, Ed, decided to wear tight jeans and go sockless at the office today? Some may find it mildly amusing or even borderline inappropriate, but is it worth sharing with the hundreds of people he’s undoubtedly friends with? I think not.

  16. We are all narcissitic to an extent. And in disagreeing with this particular post, it isn’t called “social” media for nothing. If I didn’t see what everyone was doing, I would not be able to join in some of the fun!

  17. Now, now bookandbloggeek. What makes you think I was describing your particular book club? Am I seeing a little narcissism on your part?

  18. Thanks for the note, Greg. Maybe Facebook already offers an opt-in or opt-out feature I’m not aware of, but finding out what type bathing suit Amy plans to wear on the Boca Raton beaches this morning really doesn’t hold much interest for me. I’m not even sure why Amy cares.

  19. Wow, dissing the book club (and using Lucy’s name to boot!) By the way, YOU LIKED THAT BOOK! I am reading your suggested “A Dog’s Purpose” and it is very good. Next time you post about FB (which is also the initials of the book club which should now be distinguished by FBBC), you should leave our book club out of it.

  20. Not sure how good the black and white striped golf shirt goes with the green slacks RepMan, but wearing a suit for tomorrow’s meeting makes sense. Seriously, though. Either I am missing something or I don’t get it. If I want to let someone know
    what’s going on, I just simply type addresses into my e-mail. Who needs the
    world to know everything? Did they forget to use their cell phones? Heck,they seem to live on them all day. Sometimes I think we are our own worst enemy with having to be bigger, faster, better. Good blog Steve. This sort of reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where Jerry and George Costanza are trying to develop themes for a pilot on NBC and Costanza suggests a show about nothing.