Social Media Etiquette: The (un)humble-brag:


I went on a run today and managed not to Facebook/tweet/instagram it immediately (I realise I’m now blogging about it but before you let that destroy my credibility let me assure you this time it’s different). When I finished my run I obviously reached for my iPhone, after enduring a good half hour of real-world time out in the fresh air, to check on the crying tamagotchi-baby that is my social media presence.

I found that, as I’d been running, so had at least 5 other people who vomited out various speed/distance stats about their physical prowess on a plethora of social media platforms whilst I lay sprawled on the kitchen floor in the foetal position.

humble brag


Thinking about it a little more it’s not just subtle exercise humblebragging either. It’s the new job you were too inexperienced, but nevertheless still headhunted, for or the compliments you keep receiving about your figure that you don’t agree with (but still want to tell us about). Or basically any way in which somebody you knew in school shoehorns the tasty details about their amazing lifestyle into a status update, deftly under-cutting their self-admiration with a small degree of self-deprecation to keep it subtle.


And as much as we all hate it, we all do it.

I instantly remembered recently splitting my sides watching Jerry Seinfeld’s video for Wired magazine about etiquette in the digital age (watch here).

The video casts a great light on the things we all know and love to hate about social media such as the afore-mentioned Humblebrag, as expertly explained here by Jean Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State University:

“Can’t believe I finished that Ironman in the top 50—it was my personal worst.” Nope, that dash of humility doesn’t disguise all that self-promotion. Jean Twenge … co-wrote a book about people like you: The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement. “Bragging alone makes you sound like a narcissist,” Twenge says. “Humblebragging makes you sound like a narcissist who is also being deceptive.”


Of course I realise by blogging nonchalantly about my own fitness habits I’m kind of humblebragging but I feel I had a better reason to than many others I see on my feeds. I wanted to share Jerry’s video because it made me laugh.

Twenge’s comment on the deceptive narcissist stood out to me though. I like my narcissists out and proud, filled to the brim with self-indulgent public vanity and an over-inflated sense of self-importance. That way, at least, we all know where we stand.

Share the good stuff and don’t pretend you haven’t fallen in love with your own profile picture when you obviously have. That sh*t gets annoying fast. Alternatively we could all just sit back down and keep fake-liking eachother’s updates in hidden disdain in order to maintain the social media equilibrium.

After all, you wouldn’t want your drunken ‘I look awful but ❤ my BESTIES, last nightaaaaa’ weekend mobile uploads to go embarrassingly ignored and un-‘liked’ by everyone except your hip Facebook auntie would you…



Read more about Twenge’s The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement (2009) here.





Header image URL here.

Morpheus meme URL here.

Humble-brag image 1 URL here.

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