Sunday, July 21, 2013

Are Blogs Narcissism Amplifiers?

       After a long break involving a move from one NY neighborhood to another and a frenetic season at work, I have returned to the blogosphere in the height of a skin-sticking, sweat-dripping July.
        Absence on this blog has left me with a fidgety, nagging feeling. Over the past few months, I took self-expression by the hand and stuffed it callously into a box labeled “daily grind monotony.”
       At a certain point, I began to look forward to returning to the blogosphere and sinking my teeth into colorful fashion photos, summer makeup woes, posts about the rare existence of available, good men…You know, typical fare for the 23 year old Jewish single female.

        Then, one evening, I came across a website that had an article titled “The 10 Most Compelling Subplots on Your Facebook Newsfeed.” The author (who has a penchant for scribbling bitingly sarcastic articles) listed different types of individuals who grate his nerves on Facebook.
       There were plenty. And according to this author (let’s call him Sir Derisive), “the blogger” is one of ‘em.
        Why? Because the blogger will annoyingly beg, borrow, and steal “likes” on social media. He or she will desperately fawn for approval and coerce others to check out the blog.
       Sir Derisive’s complaint against a blogger’s over-promoting on Facebook didn’t bother me. In fact, I readily plead guilty for scooping a “thumbs up” from Facebook friends like some tyrannical octopus with ravenous suctioning cups. I can over-promote to the point of “Goodness, can we just take this blogger and throw her into a pit full of snakes and scorpions already?” annoyance.

       So, yes, I understand the author’s frustration with bloggers on that account. Social media is the way to promote these days, and some of us (me!) take merciless advantage of it. Thus, I accept this criticism with a humbled heart.
      Yet, what did irk me about Sir Derisive’s commentary was his description of the blog as a “personal narcissism amplifier.”
       Before I continue with my tirade, allow me to admit that yes, I am generally a sensitive person. While others bloggers brushed off Sir Derisive’s line with enviable nonchalance, I became offended.
       I voiced my disapproval of this line in the comment section. I explained why this generalization annoyed me and why many blogs are NOT “narcissism amplifiers.” My comment received several thumbs down. Furthermore, a commentator by the name of “Tiffany” claimed that “maybe I was a bit of narcissist” because I only defended “the blogger” (and not the other types of individuals that Sir Derisive mocked).
Hold up Tiffany.  
I’m a narcissist?
       This comment caused my already self-conscious mind to fire negative thoughts about myself at a rate of 95 mph. The fact that all I could think about for the next day was whether or not I’m a narcissist proves that I am one! Right? I mean, why else would I be so worried about what “Tiffany” and other anonymous commentors of me? I must be the descendent of Narcissus himself; basking in the glory of his perfect visage! (See just how cruel my mind can be to me?).
       Eventually, I gave my brain cells a well-deserved slap for believing the opinions of “Tiffany” (and her accomplices: “Kevin,” “Peoplegetoffendedsoeasily,” and “James Bond 700”).
       For all I know this “Tiffany” could be the stereotypical grump, typing a rebuttal with oily fingers while reeking of whisky and the desperate need of a shower. Or Tiffany could be Sir Derisive’s loyal girlfriend; quick to defend her man and remaining pleasantly in denial of his consistently mocking tone. In which case, I wish you lots of luck sweetie. But, back to the original point, are blogs truly a “personal narcissism amplifier”?
        Nah. They aren’t. Although they may have the potential to become that, many of the blogs I come across contain are still things of beauty. I admire how my fellow Jewish observant bloggers share their opinions on an array of intelligent, creative subjects. They are open to hearing other people’s opinions, creating forums of passionate discussion, and inspiring others to share their stories. The blogosphere has united (albeit electronically) individuals with similar interests and niches. Pray, tell me, what’s narcissistic about that?
       In addition, when we curl ourselves up into the confining “daily grind monotony” box, it’s ridiculously easy to tune out what our heart truly desires. We rise in the morning, work to pay the rent, pick up the dinner, the credit card bill, and blabbity bloop bla...

         Most of us don’t have the connections or funds that will allow us the luxury of living the life of creativity we crave. Hence, the exhausted-to-death subject: pursuing your dreams vs pursuing a “practical” job. Many of the glamorous visions that we nursed as children have faded into oblivion because “practicality” won the debate. I can say that my love for art has already been perched atop a death bed. I already dismissed that drive and talent in favor of scoring A’s in high school. Was the sacrifice worth it? I’m still not so sure.

       In a world that garners billions of people, it’s possible to feel that we’re melting into puffs of vapor and restless invisibility. Blogs are simply a 21st century invention to help contend that invisibility and celebrate the creative potential in each one of us.
       So, on that final note, I am taking the “personal narcissism amplifier” quip and flushing it down the internet toilet, where it can make itself a happy home in the piles of rotting cyber sewage.
Blog on my blogging pals! Blog on!


  1. Bloggers are a diverse group—sure, I'll admit there are some who make their need for anonymous compliments obvious ("I'm so nice and beautiful, aren't I?"), but for the most part I find many simply are seeking a way to share their voice and ideas without a book deal.

    I believe that I can learn something from everyone, and the internet is bursting with blogs detailing helpful tips in countless subjects; what my mother couldn't teach me about makeup blogs filled in, I plan to make my own sauerkraut thanks to shared information from blogs, and never mind tantalizing yet waist-friendly recipes. All thanks to blogs.

    So the blog-hater can stuff it. We share insights and epiphanies not from a desperate need to be popular, but because we want to "spread the light." If we discovered something that was helpful and useful, we want to make other people's lives easier.

    Knowledge is power. Ergo, blogs can pack a real punch.

  2. Amen Frumanista! :) Couldn't have said it better!

  3. Hi :-) Long time no see! (read...?)

    I started writing a blog post about the narcissism of blogging, but got bored of it and then saw yours! I saved it as one that I had to come back to.

    Ah, PL, such eloquence. It's a pleasure to read your writing.

    There's one line of my scrapped post that I think belongs here and that is: Blogging is "A place where people from different backgrounds, different beliefs, different places and ages, can come together in an unprecedented way to do whatever it is we do."