Exhibitionism
in the Internet

Introduction

The Internet is the Golden Land for the exhibitionists. Overnight, regular people become notable and rich, just by sharing their intimacy or by showing scenes of their daily lives in the Internet - and also because there are millions of spectators out there who are dying to know or watch anything about somebody else's private life. "It's the great show on Earth", as pointed out Nicholas Baran (1995, July).

Millions of personal homepages and sites with webcams have invaded the Internet in the past few years, producing what the journalist Rick Marin called the "cewebrities" ("And Now, the Human Show", 1998, p. 64). They just have to pay around 20 dollars a month to keep their URLs and spend no more than 500 dollars to buy the necessary equipment - webcamera and software - to make their dream of becoming famous comes true.

But more than popularity and fortune to some people, this phenomenon has brought to the surface a new kind of voyeur: the one who realizes the object of affection knows exactly what's going on. "That might become a problem, because the web users can think they actually control their virtual source of inspiration", adverts the psychologist Sueli Damergian (Damergian, 1998).

True or false, the fact is that the Web is really changing human relations. Most of all because "the Internet is like an unlocked diary" (Mannix, 1997, p. 59), where people share more private information and feelings than they do in the real life. These impacts, however, cannot be measured yet, since the changes are still happening, and in such a fast pace. Until then, the exhibitionists will continue to do everything they can to show off.

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