How to Identify a Narcissist on Twitter

by on May 3, 2010 | posted in Marketing

Adolf HitlerTwitter has made it easier than ever to establish the difference between a nice person and one who is ridiculously narcissistic, a person who admonishes their avatar, who knows/thinks that the play by play of their daily events is worth detailing, and doesn’t give a real shit about who the hell you are or what you’re doing.

Fortunately, there are only a few cases of full blown narcissism on the blue bird platform. However, there are varying identifying contributors to subtle or strong narcissistic behavior.

When they add up, you get Adolf Hilter. Thankfully, there’s only one of him on Twitter.

Before You Get Pissy

There’s a catch. Yes, there’s always a catch. These factors only apply to REAL people. If the account is a joke account, or some part of the equation is used to play up a gimmick, narcissism doesn’t come into play. This has to be a real person, representing themselves as an equal (or somewhat near) version of how they would be perceived to the outside world off of Twitter.

It’s also possible that a few of these factors can be cancelled out by pure stupidity, e.g. those people who still use Twitter but have absolutely no idea how to use it, and therefore are close to incapable of finding other people willing to be found, or understanding how to properly communicate. When we think about narcissists, we generally apply an expected standard of intelligence, and I do so in my examples.

Why They’re a Narcissist

Infinitesimally Small Following Counts

If you’ve been on Twitter for years and you have 3,000 plus tweets and you’re STILL not following 100 people, there’s something completely and absolutely wrong with you. There are tons of cool and interesting people in the world. Even if you’re some mega-celeb who remote tweets in through your assistant (how did you get 3,000 tweets?), spread some wealth and tell your assistant to follow some other people. Your prestige will get other worthy people followers.

This following count comes from a sense of elitism. Most likely, people here choose to follow only those mega-celebrities they consider in a similar breath as them, and also those they know intimately. Basically, they make Twitter Facebook. Twitter is not Facebook. Facebook is Facebook.

John Mayer

Some Guilty Parties:

They Don’t Spread the Wealth

Twitter is made to be a distribution engine. Find cool stuff, spread it to your mass of followers. When the ratio of your own stuff to others is like 100/1, you’re selfish. Again, having large hordes of followers should be used for good, and there’s some strong evidence that promoting other cool stuff will actually increase the likelihood your own stuff is distributed wider. See: pushing it forward.

A Recent Portion of @gapingvoid

Some Guilty Parties:

The Life Narrative

My favorite characteristic of a narcissist is the person who offers a narrative of their life. Those people who will use Twitter as a way to describe the minute-to-minute details of their day to day, no matter how boring. A decent following count does not mean your followers care that you’re making toast, even if you’re using Goober Grape as the spread.

It’s definitely okay – and interesting – to unveil random tidbits about yourself, especially in times of interest to the majority of your followers, but when you’re offering details about the most mundane of activities, please look in the mirror. If you don’t have an immensely successful book, television show, movie, or natural following count of 50k+, we don’t care. I know you care about yourself – that’s why you’re a narcissist – but we don’t.

A Sample of @portentint

Some Guilty Parties:

They Don’t @ Reply Anyone

What kind of person are you if you don’t reply to your fans? There’s no obligation to go crazy and reply to every one, but when you don’t douse in any real percentage of @ replies to your hordes of adorers, your ego shines through. It shines even brighter when you are extremely active using the Blue Bird, but can’t be bothered responding.


Some Guilty Parties:

The Winner of the Ultimate Narcissist Award

My thought going into this was that there couldn’t possibly be someone on Twitter who exemplified all of these qualities. I mean, everyone has some kindness in them somewhere, right? Unfortunately, I found one person who basically hits the tee on every point. When I stumbled into their Twitter, I can’t say I was really that surprised.

I give you, Ryan Seacrest.

While We’re Here

By the way, Narcissism isn’t always bad. Healthy narcissism exists. I follow many people on this list – that doesn’t mean they aren’t narcissists. If they exemplified all (or many) of these qualities, I wouldn’t, because their feed would be so irrefutably annoying that I’d have to unfollow them. In some ways, narcissism can be interesting, and for damn sure I’d rather follow many of these people over some other robotic personalities on the internet.

Be yourself – just don’t be all over yourself. Please. Ryan. Looking. At. You.

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