My 2015 Narcissism Update (Because It Can’t Be About You)

I’ve been thinking about narcissism lately. You might believe it is because of Kim Kardashian’s epic oily butt shot, which certainly returned the queen of selfies to the position of top ranked Internet narcissist. Or perhaps the cause is last week’s incredible amount of Uber posts from social media experts turned management consultants.

But, in reality online narcissism is the primary thread in my next novel after The War to Persevere, which focuses on social media influencers (see, this really was about me).

The Atlantic noted earlier this year that whenever online narcissism is researched, the studies always seem to revolve around social media. There is a strong correlation between high frequency of social media use and narcissism.

That doesn’t mean every active online personality is a narcissist. Only the ones who need an audience to fulfill their self esteem.

I have questions and theories about online narcissism. Can you catch narcissism from others? Meaning can you fall in love with your own [perceived] digital awesomeness? Is narcissistic behavior something that can be learned through peer communities>

It does appear to happen. I’ve seen it myself.

Profile Pics and Praise

Image by Cade Martin.

A narcissist thinks that awesome profile pic makes them look like their true sexy self, but in reality the pic is often just a thin veil. It is the digital pool of water to worship oneself in. We know these images are just overrated bits and bytes.

One can come to drink online praise and believe it. The hype defies reality, but when one sees it in words it is easy to believe. Likes and faves trigger a dopamine release, literally changing the mind .

Online narcissism is a bit like a drug addiction. It masks low self esteem. So in theory you crave more attention, and more, and more. Narcissists need approval. And the only way to placate the low self esteem beast is to engage more.

Social media fulfilled narcissism can leave you bankrupt. I have seen it, I have felt it.

You leave the social media likefest wanting a new drug. Like all self esteem stop-gaps, it doesn’t do the trick for me. In the end, if I want to feel good about myself then I must do esteemable things. It seems trite and simple, but in fact this is the only path, at least for me.

How many of our youth know about the dangers of online narcissism? How many will have to find out the hard way, succumbing to the dopamine rush?

Our very culture breeds narcissism. It is on the rise, and all of us will deal with the personality defects of the self-centered and their incessant drive for attention and fame. The worst will do anything to succeed, including throwing their peers under the bus.

Better change that hawt profile pic.

What do you think?

Rogaine Rant

You might have noticed already, but I’m bald. I’m REALLY bald.

I’ve been balding for half my life, which at 41 years old means that most of my romantic endeavors including my 10-year marriage and all of my business career have been as a balding man.

I gave up on my hair more than 15 years ago. Since that time I moved from closely cropped Matt Lauer haircuts to a completely clean-shaven bald skull once a week.

It’s awesome! My best feeling self esteem day during any given week is almost invariably the one that I take shave my head.

That’s why Rogaine’s latest hair growth counselor ads on the radio are driving me nuts. The message is clear. If you are balding, you [probably] don’t feel good about yourself. You lack confidence. Therefore, your love and business life will suffer. The ad campaign goes on to say that only one third of you balding men feel a lack of confidence.

The ad infers if you are balding, then you are a loser.

As a marketer I am more sensitive to subliminal messaging. As a bald man I am seriously annoyed.

It was hard going bald. I had curly, curly hair and nothing was going to cover up the thinning.

Frankly, the best thing for me wasn’t fighting it. No, life got better when I accepted my baldness. Once I did, my confidence improved dramatically.

The current state of my crown.

If you embrace baldness, will you be as physically attractive? Surveys of women say no, BUT you will be more confident. And that may be all you need for many potential partners. There are so many famous bald men who are considered attractive, it’s not even funny.

I don’t like talking about my love life on my blog, but my experience is that women like confident men. I had enough quality experiences as a single BALD man that I don’t feel like I am missing anything being married for the past nine years. And my business life hasn’t been too shabby either.

In actuality, studies demonstrate that men who shave their heads are considered to be more masculine and dominant: “In some cases, [bald men are considered] to have greater leadership potential than those with longer locks or with thinning hair.”

That doesn’t because you’re bald you can go alpha male on everyone you know. It does mean the Rogaine ad, and its implied message designed to get you to desperately try to grow your hair back is wrong. You can be bald and live a damn good life.

That’s the message we need to send to young men who look in the mirror and find their hair is falling out, their hairlines are receding, and their scalps are visible on the back of their head. Embrace it.


My TweetEsteem Issues


I admit it. I know I’m not the only one, too.

My mood rides on my social share count. It always has.

While I tried to be cool and say this didn’t matter, after a period of unpopularity, I totally know that’s bullshit.

I enjoy it when posts get read, liked and shared by you.

I feel like a success when you retweet, and like I bombed when you don’t.

Yeah, that’s pathetic, and I know it. But so true.

I have TweetEsteem(™) issues.

Like me (please?!?!?),