Pin the tail on the narcissist!

Narcissists on social networks

It was a lovely weekend. Brunch à la Américain, a few bottles of Pineau d'Aunis Touraine (my god is that stuff tasty... peppery. Perfect.) and some serious research into the contemptible new ad campaigns from the Corn Refiners Association of America in which they try to make you feel like a simple bumpkin for being wary of their prized High Fructose Corn Syrup. Truly despicable. More on that later as I'm writing an article on the subject. A girl knows how to have fun on her weekends, right? Nothing like research on mammoth agricultural lobby groups in America to get me going, but I digress...

For now, I have an interesting fact (perhaps factoid as it does come from the unofficial Facebook blog, although apparently originating from a University of Georgia study). In all honestly, this little study has come up with a conclusion that is pretty self evident: mainly that you can tell a narcissist from his/her profile pictures on social networks. No!? Shocking news. But it does make you think.

Have a browse through your mates. Seriously. How many are using years-old professional photos for profile images? Any with back lighting? Maybe a bit of airbrushing as is the fashion nowadays? (Shame on you people who have your social networking photos airbrushed and you too, Liz Hurley, for that matter, for airbrushing your holiday pictures.). To be fair, most people probably won't admit to doctoring photos. It's simply a matter of fact that we live in an age of self-promotion, both good and bad -- shameless, desperate and pointless in the worst of times (Jodie Marsh) and wonderfully magnanimous and self-aware in the best of times (the late Paul Newman).

Even with the social landscape so saturated with thoughtless vanity, it's heartening to know that you can still edit out the maddeningly clinical narcissists from your group of virtual mates too, without even ever having to meet them. Just look at their pictures. Yes, we all want to look good... as good as we can. Of course we do. But let's just ratchet the whole obsession down a tad. After all, who wants to be the person who looks better in pictures than in real life? It's no fun to be a let down in 3D.

So instead of lazily taking any more self portraits with my mobile (not that it's a habit), I think I might instead crack open that dusty, unopened copy of Ways of Seeing. Surely that has to be a more fulfilling and true pursuit of beauty than seeing myself on the screen of my mobile?