Virtual Friendship and the New Narcissism

Zachariah James Watson

Christine Rosen’s article begins by stating the connection between how people (particularly the rich and powerful) would often like to have portraits of themselves painted and preserved as a form of documentation. This is also perceived as a form of narcissism. Today self-portraits are more democratic and digital compared to the paintings of recent centuries. They are crafted with pixels instead of paint. This if often distributed through websites like MySpace and Facebook. They can come with background music, manipulated photographs, stream-of-consciousness musings, and a list of hobbies and friends. Basically the new narcissism has become much more elaborate than ever before.

Rosen later goes on by discussing how narcissism can spread more widely and broadly now that the Internet has become a massive global phenomenon. Anyone can basically express themselves through all sorts of channels and means of connectivity in order to get their desirable identities known to people.

Discussion Questions:

1) How  has modern technology lead to more open and democratic narcissism in the 21st century?

2) What are some of the upsides and pitfalls of this “New Narcissism?”


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