While this week’s readings provided plenty of food for thought, I decided to touch on one of the more negative aspects of the phatic culture of the networked age: narcissism. On one hand, phatic culture is like small talk for networked communication. This comes in the form of status updates, tweets, texts, or blibber-blabber about one’s day. I realize that a lot of this communication is meant as an attempt to connect and communicate with others, and that the content is not necessarily what matters. But even more than that I think it is a way of validating one’s existence, and saying “look at me. I’m still here”. The sad part is I think it creates a lot of narcissism. I perused the profiles of several Facebook “friends” and was shocked at how many of them posted photos of themselves via the mirror. On sites like Facebook and Twitter participants can act out their own celebrity roles. The more “friends” you have, the more popular you must be. The more “likes” you receive for posting a shirtless photo of yourself, the more desirable or emulated you must be. The more followers you have on Twitter, the more important your opinions must be. Otherwise, why would someone follow your tweets? I realize phatic communication is not always about feeding one’s ego and that we do a lot of it in our physical in-person interactions with one another too, as a way of jump-starting our conversations. But there is an awful lot of “look at me”, “like” what I’ve just posted, and give me a “lol” for enriching your life so much.