Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Me Me Me Me ~ Twitter Part One

Does Twitter breed narcissism? Do your eyes light up when you see a new blog comment, receive a new email, a new tweet, or a Facebook message? Some writers refer to this as validation. I say that's a euphemism for narcissistic personality disorder or NPD.

Think about why you follow people on Twitter. You want to know all about them, their lives, their thoughts...you want to know if they're going to lunch in a bookstore or if they'll post a photo of something you have never seen and get that intimate experience that only 900,000 other people can share at the same time. But it was meant for you lovelies...it was meant for you.

After categorizing 3,000 messages from 350 Twitter users in a recent study, professors at Rutgers University published a study that indicated the majority of updates on twitter are self-centered.  From the press release:
80 percent of regular users are "meformers," people who use the platform to post updates on their everyday activities, social lives, feelings, thoughts, and emotions. The remaining 20 percent--"informers"--share information, have larger social networks, and are more interactive with their followers.
Here's an article that goes more in-depth on the prevalence of Narcissistic Personality Disorder in the social media scene.
If you go to a big city tweetup or social media conference, you're almost guaranteed to meet a clique of NPD people and their minions engaged in an ego-stroking circle jerk.... The successful NPD person creates an intricate matrix of positive feedback in the form of fans, friends, followers, and partners who fulfill their endless needs. When the sources of these ego rewards (comments, accolades, retweets, speaking gigs) become unavailable or fail, the narcissist will experience intense feelings of emptiness.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not advocating against using Twitter. On the contrary, I'm on Twitter and because of it, I knew breaking news the moment it happened. 1) Adam Lambert got kicked out of Lady Gaga's birthday party for trying to shove her face into her cake--I mean...damn!! 2) Bill Shatner is in New Zealand but failed to provide me a tweet of when he went to the bathroom 3) A famous YA author loves Tumblr 4) and another famous author compares herself to the powder puff girls and...wait for it...proclaims her frustrations on twitter that her bank put a limit on her debit card on how much she could spend in a day despite the fact that she has the money to cover it. 

I'm so inspired...Do you think that I could put the above design on a t-shirt? Everyone I know would have to have one. Of course, I'd expect you to buy it from me and wear it for me and tell me how much you love it and tweet me and message me and comment me...

Oh dear...


  1. I think Twitter has its pros and cons – like most forms of social media. On the one hand it’s a great way for well known people to interact with their followers. For many years it was the newspapers and celebrity magazine that kept everyone up to date – usually with erroneous information. But now well known people can bypass this and let their fans now exactly what’s going on.

    On the other hand, some tweets are just silly. Do we really need to know what you’re eating for breakfast? That could e termed as narcissism. Unless of course…it’s something totally amazing, new to the market and on limited sale. What can I say, I like food :o)

    Social Media should be relevant, timely, and of value. Concert dates, a new book / album coming out or a correction on false news messages are all good. I think that was the original goal of Twitter.

  2. Come on, most of us don't have any information to share with people. But yes the best use of it is for shameless self promotion. Though reading 2000 "Buy My Book/Movie/MP3!" Tweets would get pretty boring.

    It's hard to define what might be of value though. I don't want to hear you're having breakfast, but I'm a sucker for a good joke--emphasis being on GOOD.

    Incidentally, you should know I made lo-carb breakfast burritos this morning for breakfast.

  3. Every one want to be "loved," and get comments and followers and "friends." Have you read EXTRAS? (The last one in the uglies series).

    I haven't made it to twitter yet but it was really useful when I was searching for an agent. I read all their various tweets and knew if they liked my book and were going to request pages before they even emailed me. Um...I think that makes me a stalker...


  4. Demitria: Nah, you're not a stalker any more than I am. I'm on twitter and I read that Steph Schmidt got off her vacation and is now reading her emails.

    Mutt: Why low carb? You on some kind of diet? If so, gimme details and is it working? I could use some weight loss myself (see relevant information you could be passing to me).

    D.U. I'm sure thieves like to know when people are at lunch. That way they can break into said home and steal everything.

  5. I like the lo-carb diet shakes and stuff better because they don't have sugar--my teeth are crappy enough without eating tons of sugar.

    It would probably be working better if I used the Wii Fit I bought to exercise instead of letting it sit there while I play 3 1/2 hours of NBA Jam.

  6. Thank you! I really can't get into Twitter-mode, partly for the very reasons you have stated above. I don't have that much interesting "meformation" or information to share, and I can't seem to summon the interest in other people's -formation either. I think I was never meant to tweet!

  7. I am neither on Facebook nor do I have a twitter account. I always wanted to teach and my father thought that I would make a great social worker. Getting married and being an at home mom did not allow me to follow either of the carriers. Did some clerical and retail work. Some of my coworkers thought that I could contribute to society by blogging. So here I am.

  8. "ego-stroking circle jerk" may be the best four words put together.

    Very cool t-shirt. You'll make plenty of $.

    I talk about myself and inform on Facebook. But I'm not on Twitter. What does that make me?

  9. I use twitter to hold me accountable to do something I'd rather not, like respond to my email or revising a chapter of death, because someone does follow up. Plus the advice is golden: Linda Grimes corrected my foolish thought that my first martini was a real martini (and not one in name only).

    There is an excellent picture of a venn diagram that tshirt brings to mind. In the two circles one says Venn Diagram the other says Fun, in the middle? Nothing. Because Venn Diagrams are not fun. I would make my minion wear that shirt if it makes you happy ;)

  10. I signed up for Twitter because I found a blog I really enjoyed and the guy who writes it also has a twitter feed. I thought you had to be signed up for Twitter in order to read people's tweets or whatever. Apparently, that is not the case. But half the time I forget I have a twitter account.

    Love the tee shirt design and the post it note cartoon at the beginning.

  11. Hmmm. Interesting. I don't have a twitter account...yet. I'm gonna do it someday.

    Yeah, I'm all over that t-shirt. Send us the cafepress.com link when you get it.

  12. LOL I love Savage Chickens. And your picture :) I'm sure most people on Twitter just ramble on about themselves, but I don't follow those guys - I follow people who are in the 20% who are actually helpful, friendly and informative. I've 'met' some great writers on Twitter, and even agents. For me it's both sociable and useful.

  13. Well it appears as if I am a narcissistic stalker :D Haha.

    I'm still not sure if I quite understand Twitter or I'm ready to conform to writers and agents tweeting. Though I do like the validation of knowing that I'm worth something, the buildup to getting so many followers seems kinda harsh, heh.

    I do think it's silly some people would even think that others would care that they tweet about what they had for breakfast. I dunno.

  14. I'm learning so much from the links to blogs I find on Twitter. Would never have enough time to find them on my own.
    Edge of Your Seat Romance

  15. I think your shirt idea is pretty great. I love twitter but I do get annoyed when people start posting every tiny detail of their lives. It's one of those things that should bee used in moderation.

  16. What an awesome Venn Diagram! I agree that a lot of Twitter posts can be me-centric, but only because it's a promotional tool. But since when were posts like "Had sardine sandwich for lunch. Yum. " promotional?

  17. I love the T-shirt design.

    I can believe that 80% of Twitter followers tweet nonsense, but you don't have to use it that way. I've got nearly 800 followers without once tweeting anything about myself. I only tweet/RT links to great sites for writers, breaking news, or great quotes--and respond to @messages.

    I use Twitter to keep up with new articles in magazines, breaking news and interesting memes in pop culture. (But I missed the Adam Lambert/Lady Gaga Cakeorama. Sigh.)

  18. You mean everyone doesn't want to know that we're out of milk???