Many years back, CNN came out with a list of 12 predominant personality types on Facebook, a researched reminder of why some people can get on your nerves and how strangers can become the best of your friends. The fact that a whole study was carried out on FB goes to prove that one, FB is a phenomenon important enough for a respectable research to be carried out on and two, at least a couple of generations have to co-exist on FB for the research to chart out no less than a dozen personality types. So as of this minute, one, I am happy to be a member of this important phenomenon for many years now, and two, I feel one with the millions who are not robots, have cheap internet connectivity and friends enough to “be on FB” and hence a part of this research.
Now, the 12 FB Personality Types listed by CNN were – The-Let-me-tell-you-every-detail-of-my-day-bore (self-explanatory), The Self-Promoter (holidays, poems, writings, causes), The Friend-Padder (add, poke, add and make friendship), The Town-Crier (I RIP 1st!), The TMIer (my sex life is yours etc), The Bad Grammarian (the ‘lemme fone ya’ variety), The Sympathy Baiter (I have a headache *sob sob*), The Lurker (evil intentions?), The Crank (spewing hate, only and everywhere), The Paparazzo (posts your party photos and his even more), The Obscurest (today’s update ‘if only …’) and The Chronic Inviter (games, quizzes, polls, more games).
I have been a chronic FB updater, poster and poser for nearly 2 years now (my 400+ ‘friends’ will confirm that, even the ones who ‘un-friended’ me for this, my OCD). So much so, that when FB launched the ‘Promote’ button I realized that God and Zuckerberg were giving me another medium to reach the zenith of FB usage, which, clearly, I had not reached yet. Alas, if only it was free! So well, in the process of posting, sharing, uploading, liking and super liking, I came across every single type of personality mentioned in the list above. However, I also met (along with many others who messaged me their experiences for this article) a 13th FB Personality Type which is present on FB, equally interesting, but which finds no mention in the 12 well-researched ones above. I call this discovery the Neo-Narcissist.
Poor dear Narcissus, I apologise! How we drag you into our lives and throw you around as an abuse for self-obsession (when it was simply self-love you suffered, and pray, what’s wrong with that?) Be happy now, albeit in your grave, for the new age Neo-Narcissist is here to take your place on social networking sites. You were only obsessed with your own reflection in the pond, Narcissus. This one here is obsessed with many others’ reflections too. But borrow your name I will, for what is found in Neo-Narcissists is an obsession with others’ selves only to validate their own righteous virtual existence – something like othering onto others the secret “crimes” of the self, and feeling exclusive in the meantime, all on FB that is. Now, these Neo-Narcissists are a mixture of all the above 12 types of personalities, of course, with a complete sense of denial or feigned ignorance of the same. Their claim to fame is them being the sole proprietors of The-Nth-Degree-of-Just-Right-FB-Usage. Let us see what it takes to maintain this halo, vis-à-vis the 12 types mentioned above.
In a Neo-Narcissist’s life daily detail sharing and self promotion happens, but with a selective VIP ‘customised’ audience (um, just give them a call?), the Crank-iness merges with the Obscure side of the personality sometimes to spew venom in a ‘guess who?’ format (obviously looking for eyes and ayes?), and Bad grammar comes in handy when combined with need to seek Sympathy about the “ma lyf’s borin bro!” Paparazzo and photos are around too (set for ‘public’ viewing often) but just the right number/week (what mathematical ability), and Lurkers most definitely they are, for how else will they know who not to be on FB, how not to post on FB, what not to share on FB and how to make their own thesis on ‘How to be a Responsible FB-er; A Study’ a best-seller as good as Chetan Bhagat’s? And then, as another day on FB draws to a close, thoughts about how all others remain irresponsibly networking social beings with no sense of private-public act as Brasso for shining the halo and making the Neo-Narcissists sleep the satisfied self-annointed sleep that optimum FB posting is made of.
And we need to get a life, even if it spells ‘lyf’!
Here’s what I think.
1. There are swarms of people on FB right this minute sharing parts of their lives with who they call their ‘friends’ and who they want to call their ‘friends’, and some others sitting around, watching, cringing and spoiling their health over them for doing that. Why? Strangers sometimes turn out to be the best of friends while those you thought were close to you sit grumbling like a steam engine at every updated profile picture of yours. Some of the best relationships are about to be formed, the happiest faces ready to be shared and the proudest moments rearing to seek attention! Why not?
2. We carry banners and tattoos and attitude and ideas of freedom of expression, freedom to be, to say, to seek, to express and impress. Should the virtual world of FB not be included in the thought process? Is it too much to ask for, for something as casual and fun as dear old FB? It’s your account and your story-telling, and you should have the freedom to tell it your way. Isn’t it? Think, who is to decide how much is too much? Isn’t it a relative concept equally valid for depth of necklines, strictness of laws, what TV shows need to be banned and what traditions need to be rejected? What happened to the idea of Free Will? Or is it only government intervention on our right to use our fee wills which upsets?
3. What about the role of perception and reception in all of this? For instance, is it possible that my humble holiday update is just that whereas it’s you who sees it as bragging? Or that Mr. X’s latest car photo is sharing of a hard-earned moment of joy whereas you judge it as classicism? Or the one sitting and sharing every minute of his life on FB is that introvert with no friends in real life but at least a few hundred on FB validating his life and his self for him?
It’s time to call it a day! It’s time to take a break, not from FB but from judging the way others like to exist there, or on any other social networking media. Believing in ‘different strokes for different folks’ kills prejudice and gives you good health! And you know, while the person who got ‘like’d for updating his world on FB about how Oreos taste best when dunked in milk is sleeping a good sleep, the 13th FB Personality Type simply went to bed suffering from pointless indigestion!
In the meantime, check out this tee I got - free size, for the price of free. FB is everywhere, and it will never fail to fascinate me!