The Toxicity of the Social Media

21 August 2016

In the course of my professional life I run a busy neurosurgical practice, manage my wellness, performance and leadership corporate program, train and support our accredited coaches and manage the online certification course. I also monitor the psychometric data derived from our online diagnostic, both for the generation of indices and 'big data' as well for research purposes. Two identified archetypes in the clinical and corporate environments are the most challenging and the least receptive to intervention (they don't in fact recognize their own shortcomings). These are the aggressive and judgmental narcissist and the hostile, low self-esteem sociopath (usually in a bullying alliance), as well as combinations thereof. They generally do not take responsibility and are non-apologetic for any negative consequences of their words or actions and both contribute dissent to their respective environments (often resulting in low group performance and high absenteeism). Neither are able to accept criticism, with the narcissist becoming more aggressive in response to the perceived affront and the sociopath becoming more hostile (hostility implying a vengeful component). Compounding the pathology is the fact that the hostile archetype derives gratification from mauling those that engage or confront them.

Unfortunately these individuals also exercise their psychopathology in the social media and thereby compromise the growth and evolutionary potential of the collective. Very little gratification is derived from engaging with these individuals. In fact interaction is tiresome and sometimes threatens the self-esteem of the engager, bearing in mind that the hostile archetype also derives personal gratification from mauling the engager. Also, since they do not recognize their own shortcomings, their psychopathology is reactively hardened when challenged, with the result that change and evolution is remote. Consequently, value contribution to the engagement is usually a futile exercise.

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