Thursday, April 8, 2010

Do you and your blog reveal symptoms of scopophilia?

I’ve been reading about Web 2.0 and some of the academic explanations concerning its development and popularity. A couple of explanations use the concepts of sousveillance and scopophilia. Sousveillance is the self-generation of surveillance, wherein an individual generates data about themselves for their own and others use. Blogging constitutes one form of sousveillance, where a person records and shares snippets about their life: their views, thoughts, opinions, actions, details about their family, their history, etc. The need to share and discuss these in an open forum is driven, in part, by scopophilic tendencies, where scopophilia is the pleasure in looking and in being looked at.

Which brings me to my questions – how much of the motivation for blogging is driven by the pleasure of looking and being looked? How much pleasure do you derive from people reading and commenting on your blog? Do you suffer from scopophilia?

12 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Rob - An interesting and important question. I would say that for me, the real pleasure of blogging is teh conversation it generates about the topic. That's why I prefer blogs that are topic-centered, rather than focused on people's daily lives. Not to say that personal updates are never interesting, but I prefer the opportunity blogging offers to share our thoughts about a given topic.

Uriah Robinson said...

I plead guilty to sometimes putting more family or personal details on my blog than I should, but my views on crime fiction and other topics are influenced by my life experiences.
Did I mention that I once had a police bodyguard?

Dorte H said...

Like Margot, I prefer blogs about crime fiction, and while I wouldn´t want anyone to gawp at me in person, I don´t mind them looking at my reviews. And I enjoy the exchange of ideas, new authors etc in the blogging community. There are so many great books I would never have heard about without my blog, for example yours and Margot´s.

Rob Kitchin said...

I need to know about that police bodyguard! Come-on Uriah, you know you want to be looked at!

seana said...

I think it's often the case that we want to be looked at in a certain way or through a certain lens. I think we all try to put out an image of ourselves that we can live with and it may be a pretty small sliver of life as it is actually lived. But it's true that although I like to think of myself as different from the person who appears in the all together courtesy of their web cam, it is really all on a continuum.

I want to know about that police bodyguard too!

Declan Burke said...

Graphomania (a mania for writing books) inevitably takes on epidemic proportions when a society develops the point of creating three basic conditions:
an elevated level of general well-being, which allows people to devote themselves to useless activities;
a high degree of social atomisation and, as a consequence, a general isolation of individuals;
the absence of dramatic social changes in the nation’s internal life.
But by a backlash, the effect affects the cause. General isolation breeds graphomania, and generalized graphomania in turn intensifies and worsens isolation. The invention of printing formerly enabled people to understand one another. In the era of universal graphomania, the writing of books has an opposite meaning: everyone surrounded by his own words as by a wall of mirrors, which allows no voice to filter through from outside.

Milan Kundera, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting

Uriah Robinson said...

The bodyguard story....
A gang of three 19 year olds had entered my father's shop just before closing time and when he refused to open the safe attacked him. He was 50 at the time and they battered him badly, but the gang were being followed by CID officers. One of the gang was arrested at the scene and the two others later.
My father was threatened by telephone and letter not to give evidence, and during the trial my mother and I were provided with police bodyguards. Mine took me to school and back again.
The gang got 8 years probably because they had beaten up the CID officers on the way out and were armed with what was an air pistol but looked like a proper gun.
Once the verdict was in the bodyguards disappeared and it was a bit frightening. I only remembered all this because my daughter was clearing out the garage and found the newspaper cuttings yesterday. I was a fairly fast sprinter back then [52 years ago ugh] able to run away from trouble while now I am hobbling around on crutches feeling very vulnerable.

Margot Kinberg said...

Yikes!! What a story, Norman!! How frightening! I am glad the gang was caught, but still!

seana said...

Wow, Norman. And how strange and interesting that it all came back up again almost accidentally.

Don't worry--I'll bet you can still do some damage with those crutches if you have to.

Declan, the Kundera quote is very apt. That's a book I should reread.

Rob Kitchin said...

Norm, I hope you're going to scan a couple of the news stories and put them up on Crime Scraps?

Uriah Robinson said...

Rob I am not sure they would be of general interest at the moment but I have scanned them in and emailed them to you. I might put them on Crime Scraps some time in the future. They reminded me that my father was a brave man but even army training does not help when you are 50 and faced by three teenagers and they attack from behind.

seana said...

I remember the writer Mark Salzman, who was also something of a martial arts expert describing what it was actually like to be attacked by a real thug. He discovered that all his years of preparation in the martial arts studio were irrelevant in the crucial moment.