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Social Selfishness

One of my favourite Seinfeld episodes features a guy by the name of Jimmy who constantly refers to himself in the third person. “Jimmy likes you.” “Jimmy can jump high”. “Jimmy has new shoes.” It’s typical Seinfeldian humour and at the time (early 90′s) it was just incredibly funny to think that someone could be so self-centered as to refer to themselves in the third person.

Flash-forward to 2010 and it has become commonplace for people to think in the third person. No longer do we wait until someone asks us what we’re doing – we prefer to broadcast it to the world in the form of a Facebook status or a Tweet. We, as a society, accept that it’s ok to refer to yourself (and to think) in the third person now. “What am I doing?” has replaced “What are you doing?”

It’s not that we’ve become more selfish, rather, I think the medium has reversed the interaction – forcing us to look at the world from our perspective first. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

If you catch yourself thinking in the third person for your next status update, remember to think of Jimmy – after all, he started this. Just a thought.