I'm exploring Vulnerability this month for the HERE Year. My instinct is that there is a profound, if ineffable connection between vulnerability and presence. Something like: Our fear of being vulnerable causes us (somehow) to be less present in our lives. I've been thinking about this a lot vis-a-vis social media. So many of us (myself included) are active in this odd ether and quick to share bits and pieces of ourselves and our lives with people we know not very well and people we know not at all. It's fun, sure. But it's also curious. Why do we do this? Why can't we just celebrate a birthday without splashing an image of it to the masses? Is a moment unshared any less of a moment? Clearly, no, but then what are we doing? Why are we sharing so much? And, more importantly, why are we sharing what we are sharing?
This last question is the one that I'm interested in. The one that haunts me. To some extent, we are all curating ourselves and our lives for an audience. There are exceptions, sure, but most of us opt to share the more flattering, funny, shiny images of existence. This makes plenty of sense, but I find myself wondering why we do this at all? I stumbled upon a very interesting article, in which the author writes:
Truthfulness makes us vulnerable. We tend to over-curate ourselves for various reasons, mostly because of vulnerability triggers. This is where we run a million calculations on what others will think if and when we do this or that. This excessive curation is a recipe for stripping out what allows us to: connect meaningfully with others, create trust, demonstrate natural humbleness, create authenticity, admiration, appreciation, and create a space for others to care about you as a person. Don’t over-curate yourself in trying to second-guess what everyone wants from you. Give them the truthful you—have no regrets about it.
What does it mean to give people 'the truthful us'? What does this even look like? For those of us mired in the ways of social media, do we even know what this would entail? Have we grown so accustomed to documenting our lives with an eye on audience, on affirmation? And is it really vulnerability that underpins our actions, at least some of the time? Are those of us who flash images of our good, yet imperfect lives doing so because we are vulnerable about something, many things?
Or. Or is it maybe the opposite? Let's consider this for a moment. Maybe we share because we are pleased with and proud of the lives we have worked to have. Maybe we document because we don't want to lose moments to the blur of Time. Maybe we share because we want to connect, because we want to be seen. Maybe this is just the modern way and has nothing to do with vulnerability and its cute cousins insecurity and self-doubt? Maybe what we share, as an extension of who we are at any given point, is part of the truthful us.
I don't know.
I don't pretend to know.
But worth thinking about, right?
Do you think there is a connection between vulnerability and sharing on social media? Do you think that there is a downside to curating or overcurating our selves and our lives? Do you see all of this in a more positive light, that we are using modern technology to connect, to share, to celebrate?