Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Privacy, Again

It seems as if privacy is a recurring theme when it comes to talking about new media. Victor Burgin’s article “Jenni’s Room: Exhibitionism and Solitude” examines the new definitions of privacy in relation to the Internet and the “window” of the computer screen. Most people would never let everyone have access to their lives; however, this was before the digital era. Now people are giving everyone a glimpse of who they are, whether it be on Facebook, Myspace, YouTube, Twitter or any other social networking/digital media website. Jennifer Ringley took it to a whole new level with the JenniCam though. While many people would feel as if this opening up of her computer’s window created a loss of privacy, Jenni said, “ I don’t feel I’m giving up my privacy. Just because people can see me doesn’t mean it affects me. I’m still alone in my room, no matter what” (p. 78.) This sense of exhibitionism is made easy on the Internet, and also safer. While she may get stalkers or people who are obsessed with her, she still feels the comfort of the walls that surround her.

Burgin then goes on to state the exhibitionist tendencies of our society and the what’s the point of doing it if no one is going to see it mentality that many people have in our generations. Jenni installed a new camera in her apartment after college because she “felt lonely without the camera” (p. 80.) This sentiment is shared by those in our generation when you take into account the popularity of sites where you can share the minutia of your day or talk to strangers on or While the privacy aspect is there, it is only there in a very minor sense. I personally don’t give people on the other side of the window a full view into my life, however I know many people who do. The ones who do usually don’t understand that it isn’t as safe as they would like to think it is, but to them it is fun and a good way to show others what is going on in their lives. That’s why I believe that the computer can be a mirror as Burgin states, but more often it is a window to show yourself off, and to oftentimes see what’s happening on the other side.

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