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THE exhibitionist within us  

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The Exhibitionist Within Us

The advent of social media has established solid connections across the world, re-connected people and virtually created a parallel universe. 
No matter where in the world we live, we cannot deny the virtual world that  exits on the net. This virtual make-believe world has also brought home the realization that there is an exhibitionist within most of us. 

Almost everyone I know have tapped into the world of social media in today's age.  Some use it to seek or be sought out for new opportunities via LinkedIn. Some use it to promote their businesses or profession via twitter and Facebook pages. Some use it to convey the gist of their thoughts using a single  picture via Instagram or even twitter. And then there's Facebook.

Facebook provides not just a peek or a window, but practically opens the door wide into our lives- if we allow that. And with over 100 pictures of our recent vacation to that breath-taking exotic island, allow that we do- at least to the happy parts of our lives. We put pretty pictures of ourselves in gorgeous gowns (or skimpy outfits). We portray our happy selves to an extent that, as a friend puts it- our spouses and kids appear to be mere accessories. What is it about Facebook that brings out "extreme sharing" in us? Some might say that by putting the 'happy' side out there we try to compensate for the life that we actually do not have. Others may feel that through sharing the joy galore, the platform allows us to live a fantasy life woven together of all the joyous moments? There are those who support both of the above views. Social sharing varies based on how private a person is and by that account, my personal unscientific opinion is that it gets extreme based on how much of an exhibitionist lies within us. 

Of course, there are those who are extremely private, who refrain from posting any picture of themselves and either barely tolerate those who frequently do, out-rightly disdain their  audacity or merely sit back and enjoy the peek that others' postings provide into their lives. While almost everyone is private with respect to their woes, it is the extent of the exhibitionist within us that guides us to upload 10 or 1000 pictures of our vacation, to change our profile picture once in 10 months or 10 times in a month, to post multiple solos and then accessorize with others or to just post those that captures the essence of the moment being shared.

Before Facebook became a part of our lives, only the celebrities had the honor of showcasing themselves. Then came the reality shows that allowed regular people to attain the celebrity status. Now with social media being the "social hang out spot" for millions, power has been given in the hands of common man to showcase themselves- their talent and/or their looks. The only question is who avails it and to what extent? The question brings us back to what we're talking about it. It's the exhibitionist within us that takes to Facebook or similar platforms to put our lives on display. I'm not putting anyone down here, for I am just as guilty of indulging in what I'm talking about. Of course, we're an exhibitionist to varying extent- on a scale of 10, we could be anywhere from 0 (completely private- hate social media and can't for the world understand what drives others to it) to 10 (are you kidding me? I was born to be a model, not sure why I'm not, but at least there is Facebook). Sure the 10 might be a little narcissist even, but those who stalk them (as in privately watch their pictures and leave no trace behind of having been there) are hardly in a position to judge them. It's a different story if you share your pictures not, neither go looking for others' pictures. If that's you, okay, you may roll your eyes.  Otherwise you're just as guilty of being in a position that those at the other end of the spectrum look down upon.

(by Sonal Kulshrestha)

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