Monday, December 21, 2009

One nation under Facebook

Posted By on Mon, Dec 21, 2009 at 9:08 AM

Book review: The Peep Diaries: How We're Learning to Love Watching Ourselves and Our Neighbors by Hal Niedzviecki

Relatively new to paperback, this long essay on the current era of online social networking, blogs, reality TV and home surveillance searches for the underpinnings of our obsession with broadcasting our personal lives. Although I've never Twittered and flirt with deleting my Facebook profile, I was nonetheless intrigued to read a study on why it's all so popular.

But for all his words, Niedzviecki comes up empty-handed. He pushes his annoyingly neat but cagey term for the movement, "Peep culture" and interviews a bunch of experts and bloggers, but provides shallow answers.

The basic truths he discovers are simple: we're lonely, we want attention, we're opportunists. Which is about as helpful as saying television was developed for entertainment, period.

Why do we love documenting our lives for public consumption? Beats me.

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