My only question – am I the ego-centric or the low self-esteemer?
Now, these digital sharing sites have encouraged people to share more things, with many more people, and much more quickly than before. They have created a platform for continuous feedback that keeps us coming back for more, checking to see if anyone else Liked, or retweeted, our post. It’s an ego-pleasing activity.
“When we tweet and have lots of friends follow us, we get surges of dopamine and other neurochemicals that make us feel excited, “ says Stan Tatkin, an assistant clinical professor at the University of California at Los Angeles, and a psychobiological couples therapist. “These reward circuits activate, and we want to do it again.”
In extreme cases this can lead to “social media addiction”, with two different types of people most at risk; egocentric types who derive pleasure from positive self-presentation and positive feedback, and people with low self-esteem who find online social networking easier to navigate than “the demands of real-life proximity and intimacy”, according to a paper in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. [this one – pdf]
While some couples talk things through and resolve their conflicts offline, some are using online communications to lash out at each other and, in effect, avoid their problems, according to Cameron Yarbrough, the couples therapist in San Fransisco They bring others into the fight by posting about it, and allow comments from other people to play out, rather than discuss it directly with each other.
“That’s called triangulating,” says Yarbrough. “It disperses stress and anxiety to a group, rather than containing it between the two people. Facebook is like triangulation on steroids.”
With friends like these
FT Magazine May 19/20 2012 [all links by Dwight Towers]