Summary of “Virtual Friendship and the New Narcissism

Topics: Online and offline, Facebook, Online identity Pages: 1 (351 words) Published: February 26, 2014


In her essay “Virtual Friendship and the New Narcissism, Christine Rosen explores and comments on the various ways social networking sites have affected how users interpret and define a relationship. Rosen starts by comparing how our modern day social media pages are no different from the painted portraits of the people from the past. Rather than the painters retouching their work to define an image, we now update, tweak and post specific things on our “online” self-portraits to display who we are. Rosen concludes that the reason we create and tweak online profiles is to find friendship, love, and ultimately acceptance. Rosen also gives a brief history on how social networking has evolved—from what was, argumentatively the first of the social networking sites, the Bulletin Board System of the 1980’s, to the current and most popular network, Facebook. Rosen states that social networking was originally used to keep in touch with people who had just graduated college. However, as social networking grew and evolved, it became used for other things such as communicating with friends, meeting new people, sharing files such as music, pictures and videos, and setting up one’s identity. Rosen then makes the connection from online identity to online communities. She notes what characterizes these online communities, depends on a number of things. Age, demographics, location and, pastimes. She states that today’s social networking sites organize themselves around the “person,” how we define ourselves online with millions of individual profiles that list interests, hobbies and the things that are important to us. She also explains how these online communities have affected our relationships in the real world. She gives the example of two users who announced their engagement over Facebook and the repercussions both on and offline when they announced it was not going to happen. Thru observations of how people’s images have evolved, how communicating and social...
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