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 :)

Comments and Reactions

  • FadiPick

    I admit, I am schizophrenic when it comes online. Really! I have different account and different identities for different purposes and I communicate with different people in different ways. It may be hard maintaining different identities online but they are all part of me, different sides for different channels.

  • Beiruta

    :) I like your comment on this post! Very honest and true! I feel the same… All my personalities interact differently with the mediums I come in contact with :) And I'm not afraid to admit it :)

    Thank you Fadipick for you reply.

  • naadir

    i want to seekin nice woman

  • Amer Kawar

    lol.. You're in the wrong section of the Internet mate! Try!

    Beirut, are you interested? :P

  • Beiruta

    No thanks Amer :) I don't do online dating :P

    And Naadir :) Amer i right, Facebook is the right place for you :)

  • AdamPieniazek

    Schizophrenia does not mean having multiple personalities. It's a common misconceptions because many schizophrenic people also suffer from Dissociative Identity Disorder (which is what you're really referring to here).

    Schizophrenia is a “mental disorder characterized by abnormalities in the perception or expression of reality.”, according to the wikipedia page on the disease. It's sort of an odd characterization because all of us see reality differently. In other words, there really is no such thing as “normal” rather what we usually call normal is more like the medium or average perception amongst our society.

    Anyway, your article is solid but don't think the examples show schizophrenia nor multiple personalities. Just because we tweet/digg/upmod (etc) different things just shows how broad our personalities are. Very few of us are pigeonholed into one type of character set. We change as life goes on and even daily. Social media just exposes how diverse all our personalities are.

  • Amer Kawar

    It's nice to have such an educated opinion. Thanks for sharing.

    Our point of view is that, if we are comparing year 1995 to 2009, do you think we – the Internet users – have maybe 5 times more the diversity in personality now compared to then? I think we do. We are not saying that diversity is bad, but we are saying that more and more diversity is not such a good thing. While I am using reddit and digg, I notice that one minute I am looking for humorous articles, the next minute I am looking for a social media related article, then get lost playing a flash game that popped up in the most popular side bar! :)

    I think we do have a bunch of personalities in there that the Internet just fuels up. Maybe its a good thing? I do like what these services added up to my general knowledge.

  • AdamPieniazek

    We for sure have more diversity than we did back in '95. I feel the world has been entering some exponential growth phase where society and the individuals within it keep evolving at a constantly increasing rate.

    I think this new wave of internet has really made everyone at least a little ADD. It's wicked hard to focus on one task or topic and go into massive depth on it when you know you have a world of distractions at your fingertips. It's why we're seeing a lot of attention related apps being produced now.

    So the question becomes, is the added general knowledge enough to offset a loss in specialized knowledge?

  • Social Media & Mental Health: Are Our Minds Safe? | Thoughtpick Blog

    [...] definition clearly suggests, perception disorders are a mental problem, especially when it comes to certain complexes such as the “God complex” and claiming that one is someone he/she isn’t! Social [...]

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    Rapper Audrey Drake Graham has denied being the new man in Rihanna’s life, insisting that he is only friends with the singer.


  • Serena O Savage

    You do realise that you are refering to multiple personality disorder, not schizophrenia?

  • Beiruta

    I just researched it and you are right! I was confused, just like many others are as research states:

    “Often, schizophrenia and multiple personality disorder (MPD) are confused, and some people believe they are the same. In reality, they are two distinctly different disorders. Schizophrenia is a brain disorder that some people are born with — it may be inherited, but symptoms don’t usually develop for many years. In men, symptoms often develop in late adolescence or the early 20s; for women, symptoms often appear in the 20s or 30s. Sometimes, symptoms do develop during childhood, but this is rare.

    When a person has schizophrenia, he experiences hallucinations and delusions, seeing things that aren’t there and believing things that are clearly not true. For example, he may see demons sitting next to him at dinner or believe he is the son of God. A person with this condition also suffers from disordered thinking, decreased attention span, and problems with focusing. Typically, those with this disorder withdraw socially. It’s also common for those with this condition to appear expressionless and lose their ability to initiate and carry out plans.”

    Thank you for the correction :)

  • Annu Yadav

    Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by the abnormalities in the perception or expression of reality. The symptoms of schizophrenia are divided into two parts positive and negative. It is a disconnection from reality caused by disorganization of the mind’s functions.

  • Anonymous

    I bookmarked this article. Thank you for good job!

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    Here in this blog something tells about social media.

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  • Cialis

    I was interested read this post.
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