Are Bloggers Narcissistic?

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Not too long ago I wrote a post about how I had aged very suddenly, and while it shocked me I wasn’t particularly bothered by it. One of the comments I received on this post was that I was being narcissistic… Of course I was! I wrote about myself ageing. Is there anything more narcissistic than that?

I thought about this comment further over the following days and came to the conclusion that I am, and always have been, a bit of a narcissist. But I wonder if all bloggers are the same. We all write about ourselves and our lives, and there has to be some grain of truth to the idea that all bloggers are narcissistic when you consider that simple fact.

But narcissism is more than just being self aware, self criticising, self depreciating and being willing to share your life. Narcissism is “the pursuit of gratification from vanity, or egotistic admiration of one’s own attributes, that derive from arrogant pride”, at least according to Wikipedia.

Hmm… I have a suspicion there are very few bloggers out there who would manage to be successful by admiring their own attributes.

So if it isn’t narcissism, what is it that drives bloggers to write about themselves so often?

I realised the answer when I was questioned over why I would want to write about myself in response to the passing of Robin Williams. It’s a simple answer, really: I am the only person I have the authority to speak for.

It’s all well and good for me to intend to write about society at large, and I do that quite often I must admit, but the simple fact is everything I observe, everything I do, is seen through the lens of being the person that I am. And while I can say I saw such-and-such and it appeared a certain way; to examine the actions that drove that person to do that thing, I can only relate it to myself.

I don’t have the right to speak for those in the middle east, or the person down the street who is trying to save up to buy a new fridge. I can’t tell you what it’s like to be anything of the things I am not. And I suspect all bloggers are in the same boat.

Does that make us narcissistic? Maybe. But does anyone really have a choice?

Do you think bloggers are narcissistic? Do you think you are?

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  • Gary

    Am I a narcissist? Thinking about what you wrote, yes I am. I like to show off. Blogging is the way I do it. I wish there was another word though. When I think of someone being narcissistic I tend to think that in a negative context. I don’t think about myself in that way.

    • http://kikiandtea.com/ Tamsin Howse

      I wouldn’t describe you as a narcissist, Gary!

      • Gary

        Aww, thanks Tamsin. Hope you’re enjoying the Gold Coast and problogger.

  • http://kimbalikes.com Kim-Marie Williams

    Nope, I’m not narcissistic. It is a negative term with the implication that one thinks one is better than others and is disinterested in anything or anyone else.

    I blog because I love people and hearing stories and it’s a great way to open a conversation.

    I blog about myself and my style because I can’t misquote myself.

    • http://kikiandtea.com/ Tamsin Howse

      “I blog about myself and my style because I can’t misquote myself” BOOM! That’s exactly it, isn’t it?
      T.

      Sent from my iPad Mini

  • http://johnanthonyjames.com/ John James

    Pfft – if you were a narcissist, all you would blog about would be how pretty you are… you wouldn’t blog about your issues with body image and mental health… you wouldn’t post about your activism around things like marriage equality….

    You do see narcissists out there – I call them vanity bloggers – people who blog about how perfect their lives are – they are the real narcissists…

    You got nothing to worry about T… :)

    Writing about yourself isn’t narcissistic – I mean, look at my blog – it’s no mistake that I call it “The stuff that comes out of my head” because that’s exactly what it is… I write about myself, because that’s all I know – my blog is 50% creativity and 50% therapy – I don’t write a blog to make myself look good – I mean, I quite often write about the ugly side of my nature… if I was a narcissist, I’d just write about how wonderful I am (which I’m not…)

  • http://littlelioness.net Fiona

    We like attention, but I wou;dn’t say narcisistic….

    • http://kikiandtea.com/ Tamsin Howse

      Neither would I

  • http://www.thecupthief.com/ Laura

    This is great Tamsin. I don’t think I’m narcissistic, I just see the world through my own lens and that’s okay. xx

    • http://kikiandtea.com/ Tamsin Howse

      Thanks Laura! You’ve hit the nail right on the head

  • http://www.millicentnankivell.com/ Millicent Nankivell

    I never really thought that narcissism was exactly the right term for bloggers, but I could never put my finger on what it actually was. I think you’ve got it right though. We’re people who write and share our thoughts on various ideas and situations, but we can only relate it to ourselves and our own experiences. We have no right to speak for others or to make assumptions about them etc.

    This was an interesting read, thanks for sharing :)

    xx

    • http://kikiandtea.com/ Tamsin Howse

      So glad I’m not the only one! :)

  • Tash

    Hmmm, this is a tough one. A friend recommended this blog to me and I have been enjoying it, but I have noticed that you write about yourself a lot- from a feminist perspective too I guess. I’ve read through many of your pieces which are interesting, but I’ve learnt this about you- you were skinny, and still are slim and attractive. You believe youv’e aged dramatically when it doesn’t look like you have at all- you look amazing. You wanted to be a model, you’ve tried out for Australian Idol,, you have a strong work ethic and cute cats. I don’t really understand your piece on what you eat being nobodys business. Do you really care what people think about what you eat? What I got from that piece is that you can still eat junk and stay slim. So many people would love to be in that situation. I think nearly all bloggers are narcissists, but in your defense (even though there are many examples of you posting pictures of you looking fabulous etc) is that you are honest about your fears and insecurities. I respect that. So I think your ability to recognize your shortcomings might balance the articles that feel a bit indulgent. I am really sorry that somebody actually called you a narcassist, it’s not a nice word. As I said, I’m new, I’m a guest and hope to become ‘addicted’ to your site, I’ve enjoyed the variety of articles so far. p.s Australian’s are notorious for tall poppy syndrome. Whoever called you a narcissist is probably jealous of you and your shared successes. Dust off those shoulders and ignore the negative nellies!

    • http://kikiandtea.com/ Tamsin Howse

      Yeah, it’s a bit of a tricky one. There’s a constant battle going on in my mind about whether or not to post pictures of myself. I used to post a lot of selfies and got teared down about it a lot, so I’ve really backed off doing that lately (although to be honest I’m not sure a lot of pics of cats are any better). Yet at the same time I see a lot of bloggers who are successful by posting pictures of themselves, people like to connect with a real person and see a face (hence my giant face over on the right hand side there, staring you down! Hello!).
      I do write about myself a lot, but as I said I feel I’m the only person I have the authority to speak for. I’m not really offended by someone calling me narcissistic as I have always had a tendency that way. I care a lot about other people, though, so perhaps that balances it out.
      I do hope you stick around and become addicted. And consider my shoulders dusted! 😉