Twenge's co-author, the father of a young child, is particularly critical of the self-esteem movement. He even tells a story of how he persuaded his child's daycare not to force the children to sing a particularly horrible song about how special they were. He and Twenge emphasize that the cult of "specialness" leads to narcissism.
Part of the problem is that while we are all unique individuals, we are not necessarily "special". We all need to eat, have a place to live, a job to support us, and some social contact. Most people have some kind of special skill, whether it is cooking, doing home repair, or knitting, that brings them joy outside work and may even be incorporated into their work life. However, we still all share what Maslow refers to as the five basic needs.
The emphasis on "specialness" may be creating a burden on people. They feel forced to demonstrate why they are special. Social networking is one way of doing so. Twenge describes the phenomena of the "indigo children" - special children who are described as artistic, don't like to follow rules, and hate to wait on line. As I read the description of these children provided by Twenge (which was admittedly quite short - The Complete Idiot's Guide to Indigo Children is a fuller source of information or check out http://www.indigochild.com/ which is the site of the authors who originated the term), my reaction was that they sounded like people whom I regularly encounter when I go to the post office - explaining why they should jump the line and the post office should accept their calligraphied boxes sealed with duct tape and odd bits of yarn rather than insist on a legibly printed lable and offical clear postal sealing tape. Indigo children may explain why people are now using UPS rather than USPS - you can avoid the indigo children in the queue.
However, do we want to encourage this concept of "specialness" if it leads to rude behavior and an overabundance of sharing? Fifteen years ago, a friend of mine insisted that what Americans needed to learn were manners. He felt that someone with good manners treated people with respect (even if s/he did not feel any for them) thereby insuring that daily interactions would move forward smoothly and without fuss. Perhaps Americans should focus less on "specialness" and more on harmonious living.