Friday, January 13, 2012
But Hiedzviecki called me out: in peep, we blog for a sense of personal community, to create a virtual identity, a brand, a "person-product," as he calls it. To you, I am "themacinator." Am I disguising my identity, as I believe I am, or subconsciously am I creating a persona, an identity, "an entertainment product [that gives me the] power to invent a new person- the person you think you should be, as opposed to the person you actually are"? Readers of this blog know what I chose to put out there (duh)- they've compiled some kind of image of someone who reads a bunch of eclectic nonfiction titles, has a pit bull, is obsessed with the pit bull, takes photographs in a fairly mediocre but semi-serious way, is quirky, is involved with animal welfare and loves Oakland. But is that it? Perhaps I'm a psychokiller or something entirely more reasonable, maybe I actually have another dog that I don't talk about. Maybe I have a kid. I let out bits and pieces of my private life- Hiedzviecki would have you know that I do this both in a need for community and at my own risk: we don't know who is reading our online information for one thing, and for another it is most certain that google and other search engines and third party applications are, and that they're making money from them. I know this, and yet I continue to throw out information, including the benign stuff (photography, pit bull, Oakland), and tag my posts, making them even more accessible.
This is part of "peep": we know we're being surveilled (?), we seek it out in the name of safety, but we only want it on our terms. We want to watch people, and to some extent we want to be watched. But we don't want those same search engines to sell our stuff. Like Eli Pariser argues in "The Filter Bubble," we like the ease that comes with online surveillance: we get the results we want, more quickly. We also like the alleged safety we get from the millions of surveillance cameras we have installed everywhere, in public and private space, including in our own homes. As an incredible and heartbreaking example of the pervasive and uselessness of cameras, the Columbine incident was recorded on CCTV. The video cameras did not save fifteen deaths. I'm reminded of the recent murder of a young boy in Oakland at the scene of a rap video: the suspects were caught on multiple cell phone videos but remain unidentified. We document everything, but unless we're watching a show about crime on TV, we do it just for the "peep" of it all.
I'm going to keep blogging.