This article was published 15 years ago

Dangers of a voyeuristic society

The Internet is becoming a reality show. Its full of real-life drama that isn’t scripted or edited to make a person look like either the greatest person ever born or the worst person to walk the face of the Earth.

Its also the place to share everything we did during the day.

Every night, we tell everyone on Twitter that we’re going to sleep. We video capture ourselves falling a sleep and upload it to YouTube while entering our GPS coordinates where we’re sleeping on FourSquare.

It may be fun to tell people its sleeping time but, we don’t understand the dangers of announcing our lives to the world. The words you broadcast have an affect on your life.

University of Texas lineman Buck Burnette learned that posting a message online can be read by others, even if you put your profile to be seen by certain followers. Burnette wrote on his Facebook status that “all the hunters (should) gather up, we have a n$%&er in the whitehouse” after Barack Obama was elected President of the United States. The university released him from the team and he later apologized for his remarks. Burnette later deleted his profile.

Police officers from Durham, North Carolina were also dismissed after posting racially-charged comments on their MySpace profile.

Besides posting career-ending comments, people are also posting comments when there aren’t home. Its the same as leaving removing the door and posting a sign saying “First come, first served!”

Announcing to the world that you’re going to cover the Consumer Electronic Showcase is one thing. Announcing to the world that you’re going on vacation with your address in your profile is plain dumb. And criminals are taking advantage of our stupidity by following people on Twitter and robbing their homes after they announced their departure.

When will we see the first criminal to tweet about their crimes.  “I just robbed @nolagregschultz’s house. Thanks for the Mac! Ha Ha! LOL!”

Live Video

The new trend among the voyeuristic generation is moving beyond a 140 characters. What if there was a social network like Twitter but live video was involved? Ustream, and Stickam do what Twitter doesn’t – turn text into live action.

And just live Twitter, people don’t understand the consequences of these live video services.

NBA player Stephon Marbury streamed his life for 24 hours on Ustream in the Summer of 2009. Some describe his livecast as a strange and rambling event with the possibility that medication was involved. Highlights from the event include: a car accident, eating Vaseline and random weeping.

Marbury was released from the Boston Celtics after both sides couldn’t agree on a contract. He announced that he would take a year off from playing basketball and focused on his business aspects. Speculation surfaced that his live stream had a huge effect on negotiations with the Celtics.

Becoming famous

Why do the younger generation put their lives online? The same reason we line up to appear on reality shows, to become famous.

We want our dancing wedding video to become famous that we’ll re-enact the video on the Today show and get spoofed on the The Office. We want the world to see our incredible singing talent and become an Internet celebrity. We uploaded our granny cell phone video of a shooter terrorizing a college campus.

The voyeuristic generation needs to be inform that becoming famous can hurt themselves and others. Internet-sensation Susan Boyle suffered a nervous breakdown after losing in the final round of competition on the reality-TV show Britain’s Got Talent. Some blame the producers of the TV show for her breakdown, others note that she couldn’t handle the pressure of becoming a world-wide sensation.

We need to be informed that posting our actions online can hurt yourselves and others as well. Otherwise, the voyeuristic society will be taken advantage because of our openness.