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Blogging, Voyeurism, and Flickr

TechnologyI’ve been thinking for a while now about the voyeuristic nature of blogs and blogging. Bloggers are, by nature of what they do, voyeurs. They watch the world, often at some distance, and often anonymously. They then choose to pontificate on what they see.

Blog readers, who may or may not have their own blog, take this one step further by standing at a distance – often anonymously – and reading the bloggers words. They need to know what someone else has seen or said.

I’m not sure why I find that fascinating, but I do. I think it says something about our nature as people that we need to peer into everyone else’s lives.

That brings me to Flickr. I’ve read a lot about Flickr for a while now, but never really spent any time with it. I considered it to be the equivalent of those photo sites your friends send you with links to family photos of their kid. I imagine that’s what a lot of people are using it for. That’s great, but frankly I really don’t care to see little David’s first Little League game.

There is, however, something much more interesting about Flickr. It’s the exhibitionist and voyeuristic tendencies at work. It’s the people who will post images of themselves anywhere between fully clothed and buck naked. It’s the fact that you can quickly and easily find those people (often completely on accident).

That there are people who want, desperately, to be seen – and people who want desperately to watch others – is interesting. Technology allows these people to facilitate their need without ever interacting with one another. But the most amazing part to me is that people will use technology created for any other purpose and turn it toward this tendency.

We are a fascinating species…

Written by Michael Turk