Enjoy the Peepshow

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“We want to connect,” writes Hal Niedzviecki. “We’re willing to reveal ourselves…if only that we might, for a moment or two, alleviate the loneliness we feel all around us.”

Niedzviecki’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 “Peep”â€"revelation via electronic interconnectivity on a previously unimaginable scale. The desire to see and be seen isn’t new, but it is newly tech-powered. Through Facebook, Twitter, blogs, reality TV, and YouTube, we’re sharing more of our private lives and learning more about strangers’ than ever before.

Niedzviecki avoids the doomsaying that plagues so much commentary about sociotechnological change. While he discusses Peep’s troubling implications for privacy, surveillance, and criminal justice, he also recognizes that interconnectivity can be empowering, educational, and entertaining. Peep’s potential to add value to our lives deserves such reflective appreciation.