Facebook encourages narcissism, critic says

Mark Dice got irritated as he read Facebook posts:

“Why did I take off work Friday?”

“Football season starts today.”

“Sushi craving taking over.”

“It’s completely worthless,” Dice said, annoyed. “Why would you feel the need to post this as if it’s some important event in your life?”

Don’t even get him started on Twitter, which he says only makes sense for those with a fan base.

The media critic, author and conspiracy theorist has taken on Starbucks over its topless mermaid logo. He’s denounced Sarah Palin for running for vice president instead of staying home with her baby. And he’s encouraged supporters to disrupt the opening of the film, “Angels & Demons” (because he believes the Illuminati is real).

Now he has a beef with Facebook and is calling for a boycott this week.

“It turns people into self-absorbed narcissists,” said Dice, 32, who lives in San Diego. “It’s a catalyst for that. Everybody seems to feel they’re so important, they need to tell the world every little thought and post pictures of themselves everyday.  It’s a place to brag about every little thing they do in life as if they’re the star of their own reality show.”

He says the “friendships” of Facebook are superficial. He sees dangers in putting so many details of one’s life out there and letting pseudo friends in, making people — especially women — vulnerable to cyber stalking.

But, I countered, many healthy, well-adjusted people living full lives use Facebook to further connect with others. What’s wrong with that?

Nothing, he said, the problem comes when it replaces actual friendships.

“It creates pseudo, shallow friendships where you feel you’re still connected but you’re not,” he said. “You’re not interacting on a social level.”

If people don’t log on to Facebook for a week, as he advocates, hopefully they’ll feel the need for real interaction and catch up with people in person or give them a call, he says.

He has another gauge for determining when the Facebook line has been crossed.

“If you need to post a status update almost everyday, that’s very narcissistic” he said. “Make a couple of status updates a month, if something happens. But to feel that you need to make some statement to the world multiple times a day to get self-importance, to get people to respond to your supposedly witty comments, that’s very odd.”

I thought I had him when I pointed out that he himself is on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and has a website.

“My witty comments has to do with the system, criticizing the system, the cause I’m fighting for, not to say I saw a really good movie today or I like creamy peanut butter better than crunchy,” responded Dice. “My comments are socially relevant.”

And, he added, “I twitter rarely.”

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