Hal Niedzviecki’s new book coins the term “peep culture” and harnesses a ton of research – as well as his impressive analytical skills – in a way that’s sure to make the term stick.
Peep culture refers to the phenomenon that currently finds us all yearning to watch and be watched. It’s spawned everything from reality TV to Facebook to complex spy technologies used for entertainment and other, not so benign purposes.
According to Niedzviecki, peep depends on our belief that we are all equally interesting and that everything about us is totally fascinating, so much so that “lifecasting” (recording your every move) and “oversharing” (doling out information that can come back to haunt you) are now commonplace.
Writing with astonishing clarity – and even beauty – Niedzviecki piles on the ironies. In peep culture, TV shows like Cops, originally intended to curb crime, wind up promoting it. Devastatingly, surfers who overshare in an effort to find community – like many using amateur porn sites – wind up feeling more alone than ever.