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Are Social Media Users Schizophrenic?

What defines a schizophrenic? How can we correlate social media to loss of identity? And would it be rational to declare that many social media users suffer from schizophrenia? Finally, is schizophrenia always negative?

Multiple Personality Disorder

I can safely assume that we all agree that there exists many types of social media users online, males and females, at varying ages, roaming social media outlets for various reasons, at different times and with multiple goals and intentions. Moreover, the changing habits of social media users seem to have a very peculiar side that I think is worth discussing and evaluating in a later post since “many people view social media as a waste of time while others expect them to be some kind of promised land for self promotion. Both groups will never use social media to their fullest potential. The truth lies of course somewhere in between.”

Whether you are a student, businessman, social media lover, super user, skeptic, time waster and so on, in my opinion, the truth of the matter remains that many social media users have one thing in common: a slight discrete schizophrenic tendency!

We all know, for a fact, that many people are just infatuated with and even more crazy about social media but is that, in return, making them a little bit crazy themselves? I am not talking about the infamous psychos who murder, steal, stalk and threaten national security through social media usage, I am talking about a less threatening yet more mysterious kind of mental state resulting in loss of identity!

Well, here is what I think…

Notice the trend below taking place on Reddit:

BrianBurger seems to be interested in almost everything on the Internet, so does rmuser! With karma of over 14,000, BrainBurger appears to be a well-rounded person whose interests expand and go beyond the norms of almost every topic online, and offline as well. Or is he just simply unsure of who he is and what he is looking for?

How about Twitter’s Guy Kawasaki‘s tweets? And even mine as well!? Notice how we both tweet constantly about different unrelated topics that do not reveal anything real about our true selves (although I do every now and then :P)

Let’s take another example by referring to Digg’s user irfanamp (no offense intended), for example, who dugg the following articles in the period of few hours:

It is a fact that online communication is a basis for gender switching and pseudonyms. In addition to that, it seems that online communication is taking a different turn for many users these days, towards the path of mental instability! BrainBurger, Guy and irfanamp, don’t you feel it, too? :)

Throughout my research relating to this topic, I have found a variety of articles discussing the issue pertaining the possible loss of identity due to using “broken” social media such as Twitter, for example. If anything, this confirmed to me my view towards possible mental damage this medium might cause and here I quote “we are enthusiastically embracing the possible erosion of our identity through social networking sites”.

What about avatars, especially the cartoon ones? Now don’t get me wrong, I am a great fan of cartoons, funny cute ones make my heart sing! Yet, how true are we being to our real identity when we replace it with a cartoon which many others can be using simultaneously? Not so true I guess! What happened to good old day facial recognition? You know, when you identified others the traditional way?

Moving on to effort and the numerous steps, tutorials and hours needed to maintain your online identity which in turn causes stress and confusion, leading to higher chances of mental impairment!

My final question here is: Is there a real cure for this state of mind? If not, is there at least a way to prevent it through educating people about social media behavior and conditioning human behavior online?

Great thanks to cerulean226 for the amazing image that helped me illustrate my point :)

Posted by on May 12, 2009.

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Categories: Controversial Picks

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