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Facebook feeds narcissism, survey says

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A national study fresh out of SDSU is confirming that Generation Y really is Generation Me. The jaw-dropping conclusion? 57% of young people believe their generation uses social networking sites for self-promotion, narcissism and attention seeking.

Jean Twenge, an SDSU Psychology Professor and co-author of The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement, collaborated on a national poll with Youth Pulse that surveyed 1,068 college students. Students were asked about their social media usage, generation attitudes, whether or not sites like Twitter and Facebook were used for self-promotion, and if social media attention-seeking is helpful for success.

While it’s no surprise that social media would cater to a more self-promotional audience, it’s certainly interesting to note that not only does Gen Y think of their social behaviors as narcissistic, but almost 40% (39.27%) agree that “being self-promoting, narcissistic, overconfident, and attention-seeking is helpful for succeeding in a competitive world.”

The study also found that 92% of polled students said they use MySpace () or Facebook regularly, and 84% of respondents go online several times per day. Survey respondents were supplied by Youth Pulse, whose SurveyU panel consists of students who were recruited both online and off.

Twenge had this to say about the study results:

“College students have clearly noticed the more self-centered traits of their peers – it’s fascinating how honest they are about diagnosing their generation’s downsides … And students are right about the influence of social networking sites – research has shown that narcissistic people thrive on sites like Facebook, where self-centered people have more friends and post more attractive pictures of themselves.”

While we tend to take a more positive view of social media usage, and believe it to be great for personal and professional branding, as well as social good, it’s hard to not to have a strong reaction to the survey results and Twenge’s commentary.

originally posted at: http://mashable.com/2009/08/25/gen-y-social-media-study/ and http://www.cnn.com/2010/TECH/social.media/08/30/facebook.narcissism.mashable/index.html

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