â€œWe want to connect,â€ writes Hal Niedzviecki. â€œWeâ€™re willing to reveal ourselvesâ€¦if only that we might, for a moment or two, alleviate the loneliness we feel all around us.â€
Niedzvieckiâ€™s new book, The Peep Diaries (City Lights), is a sympathetic profile of the geniuses, eccentrics, and normal folks in what he calls the world of â€œPeepâ€â€"revelation via electronic interconnectivity on a previously unimaginable scale. The desire to see and be seen isnâ€™t new, but it is newly tech-powered. Through Facebook, Twitter, blogs, reality TV, and YouTube, weâ€™re sharing more of our private lives and learning more about strangersâ€™ than ever before.
Niedzviecki avoids the doomsaying that plagues so much commentary about sociotechnological change. While he discusses Peepâ€™s troubling implications for privacy, surveillance, and criminal justice, he also recognizes that interconnectivity can be empowering, educational, and entertaining. Peepâ€™s potential to add value to our lives deserves such reflective appreciation.