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 often so rootless that I, for instance, am a “Facebook friend” with Hal Niedzviecki, a guy I have on rare occasions worked with, but with whom I don't socialize and in fact hardly know. Yet Facebook has become such a juggernaut, I feel like I can't leave it. It's become the world's biggest phone book, and a helpful resource for journalists. So there I am, stuck in “peep culture.”
In The Peep Diaries, author, social critic and indie-culture poster boy Hal Niedzviecki explores, with humour and insight, how we got hooked up to this IV drip of perpetual connectivity, of watching and being watched. It's a great read; it mixes frank interviews with people pushing the boundaries of voyeurism and exhibitionism, alongside a bracing critique of the social context that got us into peep culture and the forces that now exploit our participation in it.
* The Peep Diaries: How We're Learning to Love Watching Ourselves and Our Neighbors, by Hal Niedzviecki, City Lights, 296 pages, $18.95