Australian Net Narcissism

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PostThu Dec 08, 2011 10:52 am » by Aragajag


http://www.smh.com.au/technology/techno ... 1agw5.html

Net narcissism
Judith Ireland
February 5, 2011

Our online public images need management - and great caution.

IN THE natural order of things, there are two types of people: celebrities and the rest of us. If you're in that elite band of the famous, you are lauded and applauded as a person of interest and import, complete with glamorous perks.

The devilish side to the deal is that in agreeing to the good times and adulation, you hand over your normal person's privacy. Complete strangers have the God-given right to speculate publicly on the most intimate details of your existence. You need to be in a constant state of image high-alert: monitoring and spinning what is said, written and seen about you.

If you're a regular plebeian, your life is largely devoid of glamour - save for that blessed 24-hour window following a haircut. But your life is your life. You can buy a frappuccino or an embarrassing pharmaceutical product without worrying you'll be snapped or talked about. Importantly, if you muck up, the fallout is usually contained.
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However, as our relationships with technology and celebrity change, converge and charge ahead, the natural order is turned upside down. Today, ordinary people cop the downside to fame - without the up - because we all have online public images that require our management and concern.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Google's chief executive, Eric Schmidt, predicted that in the future, people will be automatically entitled to change their names upon adulthood to escape the hijinks of their youth. "I don't believe society understands what happens when everything is available, knowable and recorded by everyone all the time," he said.

There is a constant stream of cautionary tales of woe, as ordinary people come a cropper when their lives unexpectedly go viral - from the student with the PowerPoint "thesis" on her sex life, to the employee sacked for recording her boredom on Facebook.

Then there are all those we don't hear about. A recent Microsoft survey found 70 per cent of hiring managers have admitted to discounting a job applicant based on information they discovered online. As Jeff Cole, the director of the Centre for the Digital Future at the University of Southern California, told the Herald, American employers have long used social media to assess potential employees - often at great cost to people who have grown up in a digital world.

In a 1991 essay, the Scottish songwriter Momus riffed on Andy Warhol's theme to predict that "in the future, everyone will be famous for 15 people". He was arguing in favour of a fragmented music industry but today, with the ubiquity of our online lives, his prediction takes on a new meaning.

About 10 million Australians have a Facebook account and about 1.2 million use Twitter. The average number of friends and followers for each is more than 100. On top of that, we appear online on geo-tracking sites such as foursquare, YouTube, blogs, personal websites, comment and rating functions and data aggregation sites including Pipl and 123people.

Theresa Senft, a lecturer in media studies at the University of East London, uses the term "micro-celebrity" to describe the development of the self as a super-public entity on the internet. She noted in a recent TED Salon lecture: "Have you ever agonised over whether something belongs on a work or home website? Worried about your privacy settings on Facebook? Deleted unflattering photos online? Micro-celebrity: you're soaking in it."

You may not have heard of the "Google handshake" but you have done it or had it done to you. These days, before we meet anyone new, we'll check them online. The first result the search engine gods return (true, false, good or otherwise) will be understood as the definitive thing about you, while the top 10 results are effectively your online CV.

Away from the workplace, our online image can affect success in other areas of life. Your online profile is "part of the weeding process" for rental property applications, says Ben White, the director of Ray White Group. Australian banks and lending institutions, such as Bendigo Bank and GE Money, do not conduct online searches on potential clients. However, US media report that peoples' online information can be taken into account for loan applications overseas. And of course your online image counts when finding a date. A Nielsen study reports that about 15 per cent of "serious" relationships start through dating sites. As Seb Emina writes in The Guardian, even beyond the formal online dating game, "date Googling ('doogling'?) has become socially acceptable, despite the fact that this information could once only have come from a private detective".

According to Michael Fertik, the co-author of Wild West 2.0, "there is no longer a difference between your online image and your offline image and this is not in a cynical or a fancy PR way". If potential employers, employees, customers or lovers see something unflattering about you online, the threshold for damage is low. "All they need to do is to believe it enough not to take a risk on you," says Fertik, who suggests Googling oneself should be part of one's personal grooming regime.

For this reason, in 2006, Fertik founded ReputationDefender. For a fee, Fertik's team will ascertain what is available about individuals or businesses online and shape their profiles by pushing certain links and up or down search engine results. Some of the work involves trying to hide boo-boos such as that topless photo you thoughtlessly posted. Most of it focuses on fostering a cohesive and relevant professional and personal image. Like it or not, says Fertik, you have ''a personal brand".

Corporations are getting humanised and humans corporatised, Senft says. "It's the idea that it's your responsibility not only to stand for things but to communicate the standing of those things and to do it in such a way that it is both challenging but not too challenging, intriguing but not too weird."

Perhaps that is why parents are rushing to set up email addresses, online photo albums and URLs for their children. According to the internet security company AVG, 41 per cent of Australian and New Zealand babies have a digital footprint at birth.

Even if you don't join Facebook or actively put content online, you are not off the hook. Working with just a name and an email address, it's possible to dig up a startling amount of detail about someone. Your education, work life and dealings with government and commerce leave a trace and you can't stop friends from posting photos of that party you debauched last weekend.

There is an unmistakable paparazzi element to it all. We upload reams of snaps online - according to Nielsen, 78 per cent of Australians sent or shared a photo online in 2009 - and the tagging function (which links your photos on Facebook to other friends' profiles) ensures an endless distribution chain.

The fast-growing field of photo-recognition technology also means that even untagged photos could soon be identified. Without being paranoid, we are extremely vulnerable to what others may say or do about us online. Senft tells the story of her brother, TJ, who died in an accident earlier this year. Despite TJ Senft's steadfast stance against social media, a Facebook site was created to honour his memory and raise money for his young family.

In a recent essay for The New York Times magazine, George Washington University's professor of law, Jeffrey Rosen, argues that the "web means the end of forgetting". We have never been able to completely control our image or what people say or know about us but today the stakes are so much bigger, quicker and permanent. Critically, the rate at which technologies - particularly search tools - are evolving means that something anonymous today will not necessarily remain so tomorrow.

Given such dire predictions, academics and policy makers are exploring ways to allow for more wriggle room in our digital lives. Paul Ohm of the University of Colorado's law school suggests the media should be banned from using non-public content found on Facebook. In November, the European Commission proposed a "right to be forgotten", which would allow for embarrassing or undesirable personal information to be deleted from social networking sites.

Rosen also makes the case for changing social norms. "We need to learn … new ways of defining ourselves without reference to what others say about us and new ways of forgiving one another for the digital trails that will follow us forever." After all, we don't make the deal with the devil the way celebrities do. We have online public images simply by virtue of existing in the 21st century.

Or are we more complicit in the pseudo-fame game than we like to think? According to Elizabeth Currid-Halkett, author of Starstruck: The Business of Celebrity, our obsessive relationship with celebrity might not help the situation. Today, continuous media cycles combined with a public appetite for banal minutiae mean every aspect of celebrities' lives is subject to public consumption - from their midnight clubbing to their school run and grocery shop.

We are primed to think that all details (no matter how small) about people's lives are significant and worthy of broadcast - in line with the mantra that a culture that shares together, succeeds together. Meanwhile, our devotion to social media is "exercising the muscle of narcissism", Currid-Halkett warns. Despite narcissism's deletion from the next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Currid-Halkett says studies on US teenagers since 2002 have found a significant upswing in their ratings on the Narcissistic Personality Inventory.

As we strive to emulate celebrities' style and exercise regimes, we are already mimicking their approach to image and PR. If we don't "brand", we might not get the job, date, house or life we want. Maybe we won't feel as important either. We can't ignore our online selves but Currid-Halkett wonders about the opportunity cost. "It's hard to say because you can't do a controlled experiment but what would the people who are so obsessed with themselves online be doing if they weren't online?" You also have to wonder how we've managed to sign up to a bargain wherein we cop the downside of fame without the benefits supposed to make it all worthwhile

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/technology/techno ... z1fvoFw5OV
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PostThu Dec 08, 2011 10:59 am » by Aragajag


STUDY: Australian Facebookers Are Narcissistic
Posted by Jorge Cino on March 25th, 2011 12:38 PM
A new research study indicates that Facebook satisfies its Australian users in ways that fit their personality, as opposed to sparking people to behave in ways that are outside of their comfort zone. Overall, a correlation was specifically found between extroversion and self-absorption and amount and quality of time spent on Facebook.

The study was conducted by two professors from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, in Australia, and published in the scientific journal Computers in Human Behaviour. Researchers surveyed 1158 Australian Facebook users and compared them to 166 non-users, all of them ages 18 to 44.

“Extroverts crave instant gratification, and Facebook gives them this very quickly. Narcissists are looking for self-promotion – they want to talk about themselves and are very self-focused, which suits the Facebook format,” one of the researchers, Tracii Ryan, told the Herald Sun.

It makes sense, in Australia or anywhere else, that a social networking site would be used by extroverts or narcissistic quite a bit more (and in different ways) than those who are shy and passive.

Survey participants filled out an online questionnaire measuring big five personality traits: neuroticism, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and openness to experience. The questions alsoasked how much they used Facebook and what features they preferred using.

The researchers pointed out that those who tended to be shyer used Facebook’s more passive features, to interact less with other users. This raised an interesting question for me: Since every activity on Facebook is technically “social,” which activities could be considered more passive and which ones more active? Is it less social to look at someone’s picture but not like it or comment on it? Is playing a game on Facebook less social than chatting?

Regardless of their level of extroversion, Australian Facebook users’ favorite features were the same ones preferred by people elsewhere: photos, private messages, wall posts, and status updates.

Readers, what do you think about this particular survey? Does Facebook cultivate narcissism and extroversion or simply channel these traits?
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PostThu Dec 08, 2011 12:15 pm » by Canubis


your a gay right?
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PostThu Dec 08, 2011 12:59 pm » by Aragajag


canubis wrote:your a gay right?


Are you asking me for my date?
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PostThu Dec 08, 2011 1:04 pm » by Canubis


no im makin sure your a fag, you should know better from me lol
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PostThu Dec 08, 2011 1:19 pm » by Aragajag


canubis wrote:no im makin sure your a fag, you should know better from me lol


Your preoccupation with others sexuality that you dont know seems like a bit of a cry for something you dont know how to handle. Hey no harm no foul, I dont mind if you fantasise about men or even me. I think it would be better if you go out and experiment, maybe go to a gay bar and have a chat and see if the guys are nice to you.
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PostThu Dec 08, 2011 2:10 pm » by Canubis


<< wot ? were they nice to u lol? im not a fag i fkn h8 fags and as a mod calling me a fag ?¿ you can stick your own dick up your ass and padlock yourself!! LOL
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PostThu Dec 08, 2011 2:20 pm » by Aragajag


Most gay guys I have met are nice to me, like how a guy is overly nice to a woman he wants to depants but I found it flattering after I got over being scared of them because I can make up my own mind who I have sex with.
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PostThu Dec 08, 2011 2:42 pm » by Canubis


yep and your fault was fkn another man thats like a disease like AIDS u just dont know whos got it? i bet u fear that or even have Aids u poor mod dont rply bak if u dont want a rply
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PostThu Dec 08, 2011 2:49 pm » by Aragajag


See your reading more into what I am saying than what I am saying. Look into yourself.
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