Why don't you have an avatar? >;-)
(no it's not me in mine)
I suppose something happened when photography became more of a competitive industry, in relation to fashion and celebrities, fashion houses and celebrity-agents.
Also, the marked has been tough after everyone went digital and with the explosion of the Internet, the value of a photograph have plummeted, and shots from "unknowns" are dumped for pennies and pins on stock-photo sites.
The shooters that have "made it", have star-status and are more or less treated like celebrities themselves (which is pretty stupid if you ask me).
Self-promotion has taken a whole different level on the net, be it signatures (I have a link to my blog in mine, so that people can "enjoy" my crazy antics), or various means "to reach people" trough facebook-pages, or via microblog sites like thumbler and pinterest etc.
But basically, I believe that most people are a bit narcissistic; IE. We enjoy the attention, the likes and praise.....and, when thinking about it, is that really so wrong..?
Besides, photography as a business has always been about self-promotion hasn't it?