Ego-Surfing and Narcissism

My new word of the week is “ego-surfing”.

Yesterday I was doing my annual google search on myself. I know that this sounds narcissistic in the extreme, but I do have a legitimate reason for doing this. Because so many people have had their reputations smirched or their identities stolen on the internet, I do a regular check to make sure that no one is saying untrue, nasty things about me.  Social media experts recommend that you monitor your web presence.

Purely by accident, I found a wonderful post about me from a former student. I was so excited that I showed a colleague, who promptly noted that I had been eg0-surfing. Which made me laugh, because, to a certain degree it is true. What started out as a reputation management exercise turned into an exercise in ego.

By way of attribution, according to Wikipedia (the source of all knowledge), the term ego-surfing was first coined in 1995.  A 2009 Study from the Pew Internet and American Life project shows that 57% of American adults have Googled themselves to “manage their reputation”.

The era of the internet has certainly changed the way we view ourselves. We have become much more conscious of how we are seen by others. Some evidence suggests that university age Facebook users who were higher in narcissism, lower in self-esteem also showed greater Facebook activity, and higher levels of self-promotion, where the person attempted to persuade others about their own positive qualities in photos, picture enhancement, positive adjectives and metaphorical quotes. (Mehdizadeh, 2010)

So go ahead and google yourself. Just remember, you can’t believe everything you read.

Mehdizadeh, S. (2010). Self-Presentation 2.0: Narcissism and Self-Esteem on Facebook. CyberPsychology, Behavior & Social Networking, 13(4), 357-364. doi:10.1089/cyber.2009.0257

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