Facebook’s Psychological Effects Revealed, Final Stage Narcissism

The world has adopted Facebook by and large. Daily reports dealing with user privacy, monetization, and a range of other activity surrounding the Internet’s poster child startup cover the gambit of personal and social interaction, save one aspect. In this report we examine the surface of individual psychology surrounding Facebook profiles, in particular images.

If you look at Facebook profiles, at least on the face of most of them, maybe a lot can be discovered about the individuals and organizations which create them? Well, at least something can be gleaned from gandering at most people’s. Things like technological savvy, personal traits, associations, and even a person or business’ personality (maybe even intentions) can be scrutinized. One interesting component of “Facebook psychology” may be a person’s willingness to be subjected to different kinds of scrutiny.

In this light we thought it would be interesting to do a little “subjecting” via Internet celebrity photo-shopping of Facebook profile images posted by the celebrities themselves. Below are some fascinating and powerful digital personalities who offer themselves up on Facebook for scrutiny. And as you will see, with both dramatic and maybe revealing accuracy.

Jimmy Wales PresidentJimmy Wales is one of the great visionaries of digital communication. The founder of Wikipedia, which is by anyone’s fair assessment, one of the three great achievements in information technology, has created a truly legendary legacy. Despite criticisms, Wales continues to innovate and promote the idea that all mankind’s knowledge can be expressed through Wikipedia and the power of human contribution.

He has failed in some endeavors, just as any great innovator has, but his contribution cannot be underestimated. As for his Facebook pages? Well, as you can see he leaves himself open for scrutiny and a little fun and games too. Wikia, Wikipedia, and Wales’ other interjections onto the world wide wide have had a dramatic impact on the way people use and hope for all things Internet.

Brian Solis JuanBrian Solis is one of the most respected, and intelligent gurus of social networking and media. His PR company, Futureworks, has represented some of the most groundbreaking technology and companies to enter the digital realm. An author of impeccable insight, Solis authors several cutting edge blogs as well as having published several books and other informative narratives. His most recent work, Engage, gets into the intricacies of web branding, business building, and success in the digital realm.

But, Brian’s Facebook profile is – well, it reflects a little bit of the narcissism of success for some. An avid photographer, Solis above most of the rest should realize the danger of posting black and white photos on the web. Some of his best photos are a cross between Al Pacino, Antonio Banderas, and Ricky Ricardo if you go look. In actuality, Brian is one of the most photogenic of the web celebrities out there. He just needs some everyday picnic images to water down the otherwise chic presence apparent there.

Richard Van GoghSelf made men on the Internet are not a rarity actually, but those who distinguish themselves professionally are a little more of a scarcity. Richard McManus, the founder and editor of ReadWriteWeb is one of those who had a vision and almost single handedly transformed a technical blog into on of the world’s most respected publications on or offline. He started by himself, and later added some of the best contributors available, his outlet and contributions now being as visible as most any across the world, even syndicated by the New York Times.

I actually worked for Richard briefly, but he actually could not handle my typos. As for Facebook and Richard’s susceptibility for scrutinizing punishment? Anyone who looks this much like Vincent Van Gogh should never post to Facebook – or you tell me.

Dmitry WonkaAt the advent of Web 2.0’s great startup gold rush, YouTube’s buyout by Google prompted anyone with a clue as to how to aggregate video into a frenzied battle to overtake Google. The most promising characters back then were an online TV super-startup called Joost, and a refined online video/TV company named Veoh. Dmitry Shapiro was the mind and mechanics behind this extraordinary business, which at one time was second only to YouTube, save with a potentially game changing prospectus with Veoh TV.

Dmitry’s vision garnered something on the order of $70 million in investment, but unfortunately he and investors fell victim to copyright issues and people who want your money when you get some. Dmitry’s Facebook images are a classic example of what happens to good Californians sometimes. Dmitry has always been something of a departure from boring run of the mill types though, no less so than in an image I “helped” from his Facebook profile which pretty much made him look like Willy Wonka.

Mod Michael Arrington TechCrunch was, and is still, the most successful technology blog every created. Michael Arrington transformed, literally, the was people viewed online publications. This is actually no hyped representation of what the man accomplished. TC is now syndicated around the world, and more people rely on the outlet than any other for all things digital.

Sure, others in competition forced Arrington and his staff to step it up, but no one can say TC is not the standard by which all others are judged. Enough cannot be said for Arrington and his vision, but as for his Facebook persona? Well, Arrington has some of the worst pictures on his profile, some make him look like Link from the Mod Squad – but then maybe he was one? I wonder if Link could write though? Any way, Michael should have someone go over his Facebook branding aspect, too many diverse looks, like a metamorphosis in motion there.

Pete Pete BondSince we have touched on other legends of digital celebrity, no such report would be complete without the founder of Mashable, Pete Cashmore. What TechCrunch is to the technical and business side of online news, Mashable is the social notifier. Like Arrington and McManus, Cashmore created a syndicated media outlet which attracts millions of readers now. Starting with reviews of online startups in the social sphere, Cashmore’s authors now cover everything including the kitchen sink. Just the strength of Pete’s Twitter following would make most news people quiver with envy. But, like the others mentioned, Pete’s Facebook revelations may just show a little of the self aggrandizement which Facebook seems to cultivate in users. Pete has been called the “Don Juan” of social among other things, his images profess nothing short of GQ alpha male confidence at the least, or you tell me.

A Thousand Words of a Thousand Pictures?

A picture is supposed to be worth a thousand words. I think this old saying is pretty much worth its weight. Given the power of images, and most of the digitally savvy people we have mentioned, one would think more care would be taken in presenting what amounts to their personal brand to the watching world. Don’t get me wrong, the mashups I made are intended to be a little bit funny, but the long tail of this idea is that people seem to do things on Facebook they might not otherwise. A good for instance for some of these folks, is that projecting too much of what they consider a good thing, makes some of them at least “appear” one way, while they may not. I look forward to your comments on this one.

Editor’s note: The images above were taken from Facebook profiles of some friends and colleagues in the world of digital. The article was intended to be thought provoking, but not damaging in any way. If any of the subjects finds these altered images offensive, I will gladly replace them with alternatives.  :)

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  1. says

    That was a very adroit answer, Phil. Still, would it kill you to just add “co-” to “founder”, in the future? That’s what sets off my “must comment on this” trigger.

    • Phil Butler says

      I will do that from now on Gregory. Please excuse my time limitations, I know that only takes a second, it is no excuse actually. Encapsulating while being sarcastic, delivering subliminal messages and the like tend to make even me abbreviate things. Call it the Twitter effect which I hate deplorably. You are right to suggest in any event my friend.


  2. says

    Interesting that you’d be so fooled by the fake legacy of Jimmy Wales. It would be one thing if he actually were “the founder” of Wikipedia. It would even be another thing if he were just “a co-founder” of Wikipedia. But, instead, he is “a co-founder who lies about being the sole founder” of Wikipedia. That’s just sad.

    Here’s Wales cowardly hiding the evidence of his own treachery:


    • Phil Butler says

      Greg, We dealt with this before and even in several articles. Regardless of Wales’ exact situation with regard to Wikipedia, which I side with with you on, he has taken the organization to its current status. I know the man pretty well as these things go, and everything he does is certainly not perfect. I understand you passion on this, but I assure you I least of all am fooled. I hope this made some sense.


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