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The Peep Diaries: How We're Learning to Love Watching Ourselves and Our Neighbors
The Peep Diaries: How We're Learning to Love Watching Ourselves and Our Neighbors
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Hal gives an overview of the book:

All About the Peep Diaries We have entered the age of "peep culture": a tell-all, show-all, know-all digital phenomenon that is dramatically altering notions of privacy, individuality, security, and even humanity. Peep culture is reality TV, YouTube, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, over-the-counter spy gear, blogs, chat rooms, amateur porn, surveillance technology, Dr. Phil, Borat, cell phone photos of your drunk friend making out with her ex-boyfriend, and more. In the age of peep, core values and rights we once took for granted are rapidly being renegotiated, often without our even noticing. With hilarious, exasperated acuity, social critic Hal Niedzviecki dives into peep, starting his own video blog, joining every social network that will have him, monitoring the movements of his toddler, selling his secrets on Craigslist, hiring a private detective to...
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All About the Peep Diaries

We have entered the age of "peep culture": a tell-all, show-all, know-all digital phenomenon that is dramatically altering notions of privacy, individuality, security, and even humanity. Peep culture is reality TV, YouTube, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, over-the-counter spy gear, blogs, chat rooms, amateur porn, surveillance technology, Dr. Phil, Borat, cell phone photos of your drunk friend making out with her ex-boyfriend, and more. In the age of peep, core values and rights we once took for granted are rapidly being renegotiated, often without our even noticing.

With hilarious, exasperated acuity, social critic Hal Niedzviecki dives into peep, starting his own video blog, joining every social network that will have him, monitoring the movements of his toddler, selling his secrets on Craigslist, hiring a private detective to investigate him, spying on his neighbors, trying out for reality TV shows, and stripping for the pleasure of a web audience he isn’t even sure exists. Part travelogue, part diary, part meditation and social history, The Peep Diaries explores a rapidly emerging digital phenomenon that is radically changing not just the entertainment landscape, but also the firmaments of our culture and society.

The Peep Diaries introduces the arrival of the age of peep culture and explores its implications for entertainment, society, sex, politics, and everyday life. Mixing first-rate reporting with sociological observations culled from the latest research, this book captures the shift from pop to peep and the way technology is turning gossip into documentary and Peeping Toms into entertainment journalists. Packed with stranger-than-fiction true-life characters and scenarios, The Peep Diaries reflects the aspirations and confusions of the growing number of people willing to trade the details of their private lives for catharsis, attention, and notoriety.

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Chapter 1: introducing peep culture

 

In December of 2008, the editors of Webster’s New World Dictionary chose the verb “overshare” as their word of the year.  It’s a new term – the aforementioned editors describe it as “emerging English.”A weird word for a weird time,  the awkward end to an awkward year, and, though it’s unlikely to be remembered as such, a potent marker indicating a major cultural shift. In 2008 a dynamic new President of the United States was elected, Apple released the iPhone 3G, and global capitalism teetered, all turning points we won’t soon forget. And yet that single ungainly word, overshare, may prove to be more significant. For 2008 was the year we unequivocally and unceremoniously ushered in a new era: the Era of Peep Culture.

Peep culture is Reality TV, YouTube, Flickr, MySpace and FaceBook. It’s blogs, chatrooms, amateur online sex, virally spread digital movies of a fat kid pretending to be a Jedi Knight, cell phone photos of your drunk friend making out with her ex-boyfriend posted online, and citizen surveillance. Peep is the backbone of Web 2.0 and the engine of corporate and government data-mining. It’s like the famous line about pornography: you know it when you see it. And you do see it. All the time, everyday, everywhere.

Peep, like the sudden stunning rise of television in the 1950s, seems relatively innocent. Friends connecting. Overly enthusiastic teenagers pushing boundaries. People of all stripes and demographics gathering (virtually) to talk about their lives, likes, dislikes, and problems. But look at what happened with television: Such virtuous fare as Rin Tin Tin, Gunsmoke, Father Knows Best, and You Bet Your Life somehow led us to TV dinners, childhood obesity and bowling alone. In less than a decade, television changed how we ate, socialized, and maybe even thought. Television changed society forever, but while it was happening it was hard to notice. We were too busy transfixed to what TV was showing (as opposed to doing). Elvis gyrated his pelvis, Sputnik pierced space, Cuban was blockaded and we watched, somehow missing the big story.

It’s the same today. While we watch the overlapping “wars” on “terror,” get close up views of global warming, and access the intimate details of the lives of celebrities, how we socialize, shop, play, mate, date, and maybe even process information, all are undergoing fundamental transformation. But there’s nothing in particular to worry about or pay attention to. Kids will be kids, oversharing is the word of the year, and if you want me, I’ll be online, updating my status, posting my book reviews, and uploading videos of my root canal.

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Note from the author coming soon...

About Hal

Hal Niedzviecki is a writer, culture commentator and editor whose work challenges
preconceptions and confronts readers with the offenses of everyday life. He is the author
of many books including The Peep Diaries: How We're Learning to Love Watching Ourselves and...

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Published Reviews

Apr.08.2009

The Peep Diaries: How We’re Learning to Love Watching Ourselves and Our Neighbors Hal Niedzviecki. City Lights $17.95 paper (252p) ISBN 978-0-87286-499-3
Ubiquitous video technology and the Internet...

Jun.07.2009

I hate Facebook. I've grown to dread the banal, relentless churn of it: the minutiae of people's status updates, the way it turns otherwise decent people into crass self-promoters. Its “friendships” are...