Foucault and social media: life in a virtual panopticon

The Kardashians are an example of living in the Panopitcon. Years ago, when I did my Reality TV paper as part of my Masters in film, tv and media studies, it was the beginning of reality tv. Ozzy and Sharon living their life on the MTV cameras. Now we all regulate our behaviour under the virtual gaze of known and unknown spectators. Even as I write this I regulate my words if not my thoughts. For posterity, cached in the virtual world, to be dug up by an internet anthropologist. This analysis is of course of the Western world by the Western world. When I browse through online posts and expressions of my fellow Indians it makes me want to dissect the behaviours of a people that only until a few years ago lived in a Luddite desert and have been suddenly thrown into a connected world without any priming whatsoever. I am a digital migrant but, may I say of myself, a very well integrated one. And it was through following a path of self awareness and regulation because I know the Panopticon exists. There are many Indians who wouldn’t have a clue hence a study of life online in a post globalised, free market, mofussil and metropolis India would be a fascinating read.

Philosophy for change

This is the first instalment in a three-part series.

Part 2. I tweet, therefore I become
Part 3. The call of the crowd

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You start the day bleary-eyed and anxious. You stayed up late last night working on a post for your blog, gathering facts and memes from about the web and weaving them into an incisive whole. Has it produced a spike in the stats? You sign in on your iPhone as you brew the coffee. But it’s too early to slip into the professional headspace – you decide that you don’t want to know. Someone has messaged you on Facebook, so you check that instead. Japanese manga mashup! Killer breaks off the cost of Lombok. Lady Gaga is a man and we have photoshopped evidence to prove it! A friend will appreciate that one, so you share it with her directly. Perhaps not something that you’d want…

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