You Have to be a Narcissist!?

In her BSC Design Blog, my friend Lindsay asserts that “In order to be a good blogger, you have to be a narcissist.”

Her exact words are:

In order to be a good blogger…

You have to be a narcissist.Not only do you have to be a narcissist, but you need to have someone around you all of the time to feed into your narcissistic tendencies and help that little monster inside of your grow and flourish and eventually become a full blown unstoppable being of self importance. Ok, so I might be a little bit overly dramatic, but I have not seen, read, or met one successful blogger that didn’t have that little monster inside of them telling them how great all of their thoughts and ideas are.

This little monster called narcissism is not a bad thing so long as it stays small and manageable. Having a voice inside of you day in and day out telling you how great you are is a really uplifting and empowering feeling. It gives you that inspiration and urge to do things like start a blog and position yourself somewhere in the wide world of the web as an authority on whatever it is you write about.

The problem. Well, in my opinion there is more that one problem. The first is obviously the very real possibility that your little pet monster becomes unruly and your narcissism starts to stunt your intellectual growth and before you know it you start feeling like you can not learn anything from your constituents and the people around you just “aren’t on your level”. I have seen this happen in a lot of industries, but I have seen it happen more so in the fashion and design blogging worlds than anywhere else. People learn to love themselves and their work so much that they can not take criticism, suggestions, or even inspiration from those who are not on their level.

The other problem is, how do you feed your narcissism and urge to blog about yourself and your life without effecting those around you. I have done lots of really cool things and met some really awesome people over the last few months, yet I have almost nothing to show for it. Aside from the fact that  my husband is an amazing photographer I have very few pictures of me doing these interesting things because I feel like a self important fool asking him to take pictures of me.

Have you ever been some where public and seen someone talking into a video camera? Well, I have, and if you haven’t, just watch some of those life vloggers on youtube and you will quickly start to wonder what in the world do you people around them think! There are times that I envy that level of self importance paired with lack of public humility because I know it feeds into the online community’s urge to peek into each others lives. On the other hand I question what makes them feel so important that they have to walk around making a documentary of themselves. Isn’t that the same thing they made fun of on various sketch comedy shows?

I am going to be exploring this whole thing with a friend of mine. We both really want to get back into blogging and documenting our “great exciting adventures” [insert sarcasm here]. So the plan we have hatched includes the following.

  • Meet for lunch at least once a week
  • Plan at least one really interesting outing each month (either to NYC or some random event)
  • Take lots of pictures
  • Do not feel insecure about indulging that little monster inside

How is it going to turn out? I have no idea. I would love to hear from some of you bloggers out there about how you have managed this balancing act between real life, online life, and publicity.

Do you agree with Lindsay? Do you think the best bloggers have truly mastered the art of self-love to the point of narcissism?

I’m the friend who was going to explore the balance between real life, online life, and publicity with Lindsay through weekly lunch meetings and monthly adventures. While we had plenty of adventures, our realities didn’t exactly align themselves to working on this project too much. I asked Lindsay if I could use her post on my blog so I could bring the question to my blogging network.

Unfortunately, the little monster inside of you runs much deeper than only posting the most flattering pictures of yourself online. In my dating column, I’ve found a lot of critics. Most of my readers chase them away with comments like, “your negativity is not appreciated or welcome here.” Still, I think a chorus of people blindly re-affirming our thoughts and feeding the narcissism monster does little to actually help us grow.

I humbly invite you to disagree.

PS. I’m ending this post with a pretty picture of myself to show that I can be a narcissist too and with an unflattering picture of myself to show that I know how to keep it real.

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About ermodi

i like champagne and nachos. i watch people’s mouths move when they talk to me and judge if they are a good kisser i like to write with fine-tip Sharpies because i think it makes me look confident i bite my nails i think doing the dishes is a very lonely chore i think “autumn” is the prettiest word in the English language. i believe in love – or, at least something that resembles love, but i don’t trust this idea of forever.
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11 Responses to You Have to be a Narcissist!?

  1. Hi Maureen:
    I’ve seen bloggers who write ONLY about themselves and post pictures of ONLY themselves as well. Readers will eventually see through that type of person and will stop returning. It’s one of the things I determined NOT to do w/my blog.

    Wisdom and Life wasn’t this first blog I wrote. I started out writing a book review blog and quickly discovered that I was becoming “ONE OF THOSE” bloggers. Once the light went on I understood that I didn’t want to continue writing that blog.

    I took a year off while I considered my next move. This blog I’m involved with now has been a Godsend, literally. LoL I’m writing Wisdom and Life to help others move forward, not for any self gratification. Yes I write first for myself as every writer should do, however I’m also cognizant of helping my readers understand that there is another way to live your life. If I can help even one person then I’ve accomplished what i set to do.

    Chris

  2. Lindsay says:

    Chris, I couldn’t disagree with you more. The most successful blogs are based ENTIRELY around the life of one person, the writer. People love to peer into the lives of someone – and it doesn’t really matter your status, class, or even career.

    Writing about only yourself is just one way to have a successful blog, but I completely disagree that readers will “see through it” and leave because readers flock to it for that purpose.

  3. Jan says:

    I write a meandering blog about myself and my family, our trials and tribulations. My own battle with surviving childhood sexual abuse and the repercussions of it. I have very few followers, but the ones I do have, have changed my life and that I value more than anything else blogging could have brought me I also believe that by my sharing so publicly, I have helped at least one person to better cope with their own abuse.For that I am very grateful. I also do a photography blog which I do simply to share the photos with friends local and online. I take the photos as a type of therapy, I love a pat on the back when it is a great shot,oh. no doubt about that, but my main purpose is just to share and that is enough.

  4. To be “out there” in the blogging world certainly takes self-confidence in knowing you have a message to share. I love to share personal stories in my Daily Devotions, ones that I feel others will connect with from their own experiences.
    As far as the narcissistic monster? God keeps me very, very humble . . .
    Great food for thought in this reflection today!
    Blessings!

  5. Leah says:

    Oh yes, the narcissistic monster. I have a blog and lately I’ve been so sick of myself that I’ve hardly blogged at all. Me me me me me me…redundant!! LOL!!
    Yeah, we’re a bit self-centered but no matter how self-centered I become I refuse to blog on cooking, crafting, or yoga…no one would ever believe me;) Maybe I could do a blog on my favorite things. I’m sure the world is dying to hear about them!

  6. Rachel says:

    I definitely think there are a lot of narccissistic bloggers and that a bit of it is required to do well, but I do not think writing about yourself is a requirement. Sure, many successful memes started that way and became tv shows, etc, but I think the creativity and presentation are the most important. Most people’s lives aren’t entertaining enough for the world… but getting out for regular adventures with your friend is a good start. 🙂

  7. Hello all:
    As an addendum to my original response:
    I THINK my original reply was taken as derogatory toward bloggers who write about themselves. Of course EVERY writer imparts THEIR OWN wisdom, THEIR OWN take on the world around them. Though it appeared that I was taking a shot at bloggers who do so, that was NOT my intention. I was relaying my own experience w/my own blog and was simply saying that I didn’t want to write about myself and post photos of myself. Yes I impart my own worldview in my blog. As I said ALL writers do.

    I just don’t want to make my blog all about me all the time. That’s what I wanted to get across. Sometimes when writing a response it is challenging to get to the point because you can’t hear intonation or see someone’s expression.

    Chris

  8. Lindsay says:

    I think Leah is the only one here being honest with ones’ self. Each and every one of you lack even one post in your blogs where you don’t mention yourself. Lots and LOTS of writers have gotten by without even putting on iota of themselves into their stories, but in the blogging world, that rarely flies unless you are writing a tutorial or news blog.

    The definition of a blog is a “web log” “a personal journal published on the world wide web”.. So one could argue that blogs that are not about the writer are not, in fact, blogs at all. Therefor impressing my assertions further that in order to be a blogger you have to have a level of narcissism.

    The fact that one person believes that their words can change someones’ lives is, in itself, the epitome of narcissism. That’s the point.

  9. Lindsay, is Leah the only honest person here? Really?
    I think I made it very clear, as did Chris, that mentioning yourself does not mean promoting that self. It is merely a way to connect in a basic, human need and sense, with the needs and wants and dreams of others.
    I cannot speak for Chris, but I can speak for myself, and you can take it as you hear it.
    I was called by God to write the blog I do. CALLED! I do not write because I believe I can change someone’s life, but because I know He can. I am less than 30 days away from writing and publishing these daily for an entire year only because I heeded His request and did precisely what He asked.
    That, my dear, is the antithesis of narcissism.
    May the God who has blessed me with the gift of writing bestow blessings upon you!

  10. Lindsay says:

    No. I said she is the only one being honest with herself. No where at all did I call anyone an honest or dishonest person.

    Martha, you clearly do not understand that writing about yourself is narcissistic. You are assuming that people want to hear your thoughts, therefor assuming that your thoughts are working seeking out and following. Is this a bad thing? Well, it can be, but not always.

    YOU believe YOU can change someone’s life. That is a grandiose thought of ones self which is the definition of narcissism. Now you can believe that god can change someone’s life, but believing that YOU can is putting the power of god unto yourself.

    You do not understand that narcissism is not always a bad thing. You do not understand that no one is attacking you for writing about yourself. You do not understand that writing about your thoughts and assuming people need to hear what you have to say IS a narcissistic idea in general.

    Clearly you are only reading what you want to read because you instantly felt attacked for some reason unknown to me. The fact that you instantly assumed that I was saying that you were a dishonest person is a huge red flag.

  11. Ermodi says:

    Thanks for all the interesting comments, everyone! You really raised a lot of good points and made me think!

    I started off by making sure I knew the actual definition of narcissism: nar·cis·sism
    noun
    1. inordinate fascination with oneself; excessive self-love; vanity.
    2. Psychoanalysis . erotic gratification derived from admiration of one’s own physical or mental attributes, being a normal condition at the infantile level of personality development.
    Synonyms: self-centeredness, smugness, egocentrism.

    While I do see this (to the extent of it being a mental condition) in some bloggers, I think many bloggers are actually looking to be validated in their views (I can’t be the only person who has ever felt this way) or even reach out and form relationships with their readers.

    Which brings us back to the point – what does it take to make a great blogger?

    Yes, you have to be self-confident enough in your ideas to put them out on the internet, and even face some hate. But, you can’t let that self-confidence spiral into REAL narcissism, which is why I agree with Lindsay that you have to keep the “little monster” exactly that – little – and in check.

    I think a great blogger needs to win people over, get their messages out to a variety of audiences, including hostile ones, and love and respect themselves enough to not let negative comments stop them.

    Simultaneously, a great blogger must also be willing to re-examine their position and make corrections if they find that they were wrong.

    Blogs are unique in that they bring a very human aspect to the internet. I guess, being a great blogger is mostly about being a great communicator….the funny thing is, I’d never given it much thought before now.

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