Facebook was launched in February 2004. MySpace was launched in August 2003. Going back to the 1980s; the internet ‘was born’ (to the public). From that crucial date social networking began.

People use social networking sites to communicate with friends, family, strangers. They create profiles online. They create avatars, which are, or are not, the virtual representation of themselves.

Social networking allows people to create a new persona for people who would like, for whatever reason, to challenge the way they are portrayed by themselves and/or others using the same social networking site. Sometimes, however, people need reassurance from others and so they create this exaggerated character which is the representation of what they would like to be portrayed as. They post every thought, every picture, every detail of their life. A study conducted by York University psychologist Soraya Mehdizadeh showed users’ narcissistic behaviour.  “Facebook users who were highly narcissistic or relayed self esteem issues spent elongated periods of time on Facebook and were aggressively self-promoting. “Self-Presentation 2.0: Narcissism and Self-Esteem on Facebook” found this behavior characterized in a user’s posts, comments, photographs, notes, and in the “About Me” section of their Facebook profile.”http://goodmenproject.com/health/is-facebook-feeding-your-personality-disorder/)

“Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is defined in the DSM IV as “a pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy.” The Facebook study found that social networks offered “a gateway for hundreds of shallow relationships (i.e., virtual friends), and emotionally detached communication (i.e., wall posts, comments)”—common traits of NPD.” The study also showed people with NPD show “identity statements”.  (http://goodmenproject.com/health/is-facebook-feeding-your-personality-disorder/ ) They show themselves in the way they would like to be portrayed, even though their true self might not be as confident as their virtual self.

People often look for ways to  over-compensate the lack of confidence in real life by creating fictional personas. In recent years the form in which many insecure people do so is by using social networking sites. The reality doesn’t often agree with the virtual portrayal of the character. Reasons behind creating this fictional character vary. Some create the characters because they are insecure with themselves and want to change they way they feel about themselves; others create a second life online for themselves simply for experience. The matter of fact is that online you never really know and can never be sure if the person you are speaking to is the true representation of the real person sitting behind the computer screen.