Narcissistic headlines you should drop immediately

by Jan 20, 20163Plus, Communication, Relationships, Technology

Narcissistic headlines we should stop using 


The reach of social media and a call to us all to toot our own horns, to become the CMOs of our own brand, has resulted in the proliferation of narcissistic headlines. Some we have never heard of before, others stretch the imagination in their misuse.

Narcissism defined

“…. grandiose view of one’s own talents and a craving for admiration…..”

Here are 7 narcissistic social media headlines + 1 practice, that make the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end and are the social media equivalent of nails dragging on chalk boards (remember those?)

 #1 Guru

This a Sanskrit term that denotes someone who is a “teacher, guide or master” of certain knowledge. It has spiritual connotations. Here is a list of Sikh gurus and another one for Hindus. You will not be on it. So don’t use it. Tweets with high numbers of RTs don’t make you a guru even if you are Sikh or Hindu.

#2  Jedi

A Jedi is a member of the “mystical knightly order”  in the Star Wars films, “trained to guard peace and justice in the Universe.”  Luke Skywalker was a Jedi. Unless you have faced the same epic challenges in 3D in Star Wars movies, you are not a Jedi, even if you work for the CIA or MI6. Outside Star Wars, James Bond comes close to legitimately calling himself a Jedi, as can Liam Neeson. As you know, until Rey, Star Wars did not have a great feminist record.

#3 Ninja

A Ninja is a person “skilled in the Japanese art of ninjutsu.” They were men. They can also be mutant turtles named after Italian artists. They were also male. This term has become a synonym for expert. But unless your specialty is ninjutsu or you live in a  New York City sewer, battle crime and evil overlords you should drop this nomenclature. Revert to using expert and even then judiciously. Only if you are one. If you are in recruitment or heaven forbid Diversity and Inclusion the N-word should be obliterated totally from your lexicon. It is a male coded word and implies unconscious bias.

#4  Influencer

Influencers hold the power to sway decisions. It has become widely abused on LinkedIn for example, where non-influencers ape genuinely influential business leaders, by drowning our notification stream with poor quality posts. Even if your LinkedIn updates get shares and likes, you cannot assume Influencer status. This is a position that is conferred by your peers. Because there are so many Influencer wannabes, a whole industry has emerged to take advantage of your latent narcissism.

Ignore any offers to elevate you to this mystical status, via PayPal payments of $$$$ to someone located in a country you have never heard of. They can’t do it. Nor can you just go out and call yourself an Influencer. It is lame, especially if all you are influencing is sandwich fillings and family vacations.

#4 Rock Star

An ability to hold a tune in karaoke at the office party, does not make you a rock star. Unless you are able to move like Jagger or Kylie Minogue and Tina Turner in stilettos, have sold millions of concert tickets, have a clutch of Grammys and world-wide hits, you are not a rock star. Look in the mirror and accept the reality. I know. It’s tough. You can do it.

#5 Maven

A maven is “a person who knows a lot about a particular subject.”  After the age of about 21, we are all mavens in our own ways and fields. Sometimes even much younger than that. You are not that special. It sounds ridiculous.

#6 Disrupter

A disrupter was at one time not a complimentary term. It meant to “throw into turmoil and disorder” Now it has come to signify a positive sense. Something good will come out of all the crap you cause. This a term, together with its buddy, “Influencer,” that is best applied to you by someone else, and not by you to yourself.

#7 Warrior

There are over 150000 warriors on LinkedIn. A warrior is defined as “brave or experienced soldier or fighter.” Or a yoga pose, which involves holding your legs apart. I don’t want to go there. If your only battle is in a meeting room in New Jersey or a call center in Brixton, you are not a warrior, although the commute might qualify you, if Donald Trump is to be believed. This diminishes the efforts of real, experienced soldiers. Please respect them.

Final straw: self-quoting memes

And the final straw is a growing number who put their own little homilies and clichéd sound bites onto photos of seascapes, flora, fauna, forests and artfully placed rocks.




If someone does this for Aristotle, Eleanor Roosevelt, Buddha or Helen Keller they clearly have some miles on the quote tires. The probability of you having the same level of gravitas is almost zero.  To quote Ricky Gervais, “it’s embarrassing and you should stop.”


If you need help creating a non-narcissistic, but effective, professional headline contact us here.

Mary Beth is a content marketing consultant based in California. She says she spends her days, 24/7/365  saving clients from themselves.

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