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Virtual Narcissism The perils and pitfalls of Facebook are well documented.

We all remember the tales of how MySpace can make or break a career but apart from reading about the first real life divorce for adultery where an avatar is cited as the co-respondent Who has told of virtual world narcissists? What is narcissism? A true narcissist, in my view, is reminiscent of a Sociopath but with better manners, and is often better looking. A narcissist will use others to further their own end And they wont feel bad about it. A narcissist has an obsession for self promotion and self obsession An example being obsessively collecting shallow contacts on Facebook. But, most of the population in 2009 h ave an online presence in one way, shape or form Even if it is only for photo sharing. Everyone wants to show themselves in the best light, that is human nature. Vanity in a virtual world such as Second Life is par for the course. Look at the big businesses selling skins, hair, shoes, clothes Even virtual genitalia. The re is a body of Second Life photographers cashing in on an avatars desire to possess the perfect profile picture and, why not? In real life, I cant eat a box of chocolates and not put on weight, that bottle of wine will have consequences for my appearance and going to the gym just makes me feel old and out of shape. Why not enjoy playing dress up in Second Life and know that you will never have a b ad hair day or a fat day and that your bum will never look big in those trousers Unless you want it to of course. But, when does vanity become toxic? Well, there are two sticks in Second Life people have used to beat me with. The first, was that their Second Life is about fulfilling their fantasies and by expecting to be treated with respect, I was somehow denying them their desire That is virtual narcissism. Like the man (or woman) who spends too long staring at their own reflection in the mirror Second Life selfishness is more common than crashing. The second stick any self respecting avatar is beaten with if they demand a reasonable level of integrity in their Second Life is the no drama exclamation. If you speak your mind, it is assumed you create drama. I was once asked in an interview for a magazine I was going to write for about my Second Sex and the City column Apparently my use of the term Shagnasty meant I was a drama queen. As a consequence I never wrote for them as I was mortally offended. When did my right to free expression mean that I deserved a label imposed on me by others? Because I refuse to compromise my beliefs or feelings for others in Second Life I am labelled a drama queen. If you ever disagree with anyone in Second Life you are accused of creating drama. For me it is the biggest insult anyone can bestow on me And proves they are a virtual narcissist yet to come out of the closet. The drama label is borne out of the need to control others, not a dislike of drama. When I wrote my column called Second Sexpectations, Saul was so proud I had writ ten about him he was telling his friends to read it In his eyes there was clearly no such thing as bad publicity. A sure sign of a virtual narcissist is someone falling in love with their name in print so much so they dont even care if it makes them look a fool. Saul is not alone in this, an ex was in one of my groups as an alt following my columns and spying on me. I accidentally hit his Subscibe-o-Matic in Weird Shit one day and was too busy for months to get back there t o unsubscribe. I had to mute it in the end. He is probably narcissistic enough to believe Im a fan because I was in his silly little group which traps members by tempting them to click a picture without ma king it clear they are hitting a Subscribe-o-Matic group joiner. He already talks about himself in the third person, nothing would

surprise me. Diagnosis? Virtual narcissist. And yes Marco, I am talking about you. Simply changing a friends name slightly as you notecard their conversations without their consent then publishing it as your own work in your so-called SL Humor Blog is not being a writer. Virtual narcissism? No, virtual rape was how she described it when she found out. Virtual narcissism and virtual violation are not too far apart as often the experiences have the same end result Someone ends up feeling hurt, bruised, used and abused. Think about that the next time you mock the newbie for their uninspired appearance When did vanity become acceptable? By Josephina Bonetto

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