What Came First: The Narcissist Or The Selfie Stick?

Conventional wisdom is that technology (high-quality mobile photography + social media + high-speed wireless internet + frictionless self-publishing platforms) has fueled an unparalleled age of narcissism. Anyone with a point-of-view, a kid, a cat or advice can broadcast to friends and strangers in an instant; with the hope (let's be honest) that 10s or 100s or 1000s or 1000000s will "like" it. See?

  This is me and one of my kids. It was taken by my other kid. Isn't it touching? And the composition ... I've got a mini Ansel Adams on my hands. Am I right? 

This is me and one of my kids. It was taken by my other kid. Isn't it touching? And the composition ... I've got a mini Ansel Adams on my hands. Am I right? 

Furthermore, cultural observationists (is that a word?) bemoan the fact that we've all got our heads buried in our phone as we walk down the street, eat, commute or even engage in conversation.

It's true: we're sharing more than we ever have; and the way we relate to our physical world has changed dramatically. And it does feel really narcissistic. And sometimes really troubling.

But here's the thing. The idea of narcissism far pre-dates Kim Kardashian. Its origins go back to Greek mythology. So I fundamentally disagree that we're any more narcissistic than before (before whenever). And I don't think technology is the enemy (just like the printing press, radio, TV, Elvis and Polaroids weren't the enemy). 

I just think we're still adjusting to all the new technology and how to right-size our use/consumption. And while we do that, we debate it in public - which funny enough makes it feel like a bigger problem than it really is. We (this, you, me) are as much a part of the problem as a selfie stick.

It's all gray area right now. Unsubscribe if it's all too much. Move to a remote island if that seems like the only tenable solution (can I join you?). Share what you want, when you want and with whom you want - we're all pretty good at filtering out the noise. But don't judge - it never gets us very far and certainly doesn't advance the discussion.