It’s a biological fact that environment plays a major role in shaping our genomes. Be it catastrophic events like huge meteors from space or a wild fire that demolishes flora of a landmass, living organisms have had to adapt to these sudden changes in their environment. Changes don’t have to be sudden of course and there are numerous known effects of gradual transformations in a habitat that favor a particular phenotype that brings advantage to the individual in those transformed surroundings.
Something similar is happening with the advent of social media. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have created new ecosystems that are selecting for behaviors like narcissism. Human mind can display a range of behaviors and being overly self centered is definitely one of them. When these social platforms demand that in order to be successful in their ecosystem, the person creates as good of a brand of themselves as possible, its natural that this demand will create the thoughts that increase our likelihood of outperforming others (or at least doing as well). Here are a couple of definitions of narcissism:
excessive or erotic interest in oneself and one’s physical appearance.
extreme selfishness, with a grandiose view of one’s own talents and a craving for admiration.
These phenotypes are perfectly matched with the selection pressures social media is throwing at us. So even though it isn’t biological adaption in the sense of natural selection (because that takes many generations), it is cultural adaptation which is much faster and is well known to transform human condition within one or two generations.
Now is this necessarily a bad thing? It will probably take a lengthy essay to address that question and hence I will pause this musing for now.