This article explores the use of social media as a way to motivate/shame yourself into meeting a goal, like losing weight, monitoring your spending, or quitting smoking. The author looks at one man who lost weight by tweeting his caloric intake, another website TweetWhatYouEat.com and its derivative, TweetWhatYouSpend.com (both now defunct), and several programs through health and tobacco-free organizations that help support/shame people into quitting. While these are interesting examples of social media being used explicitly to police behavior, what really struck me was the article’s brief exploration of the way that shame plays a role in these practices. Of course, like Mae in The Circle, you don’t want to make a bad or embarrassing choice with the world watching, so you choose vegetables over pizza, don’t light up, or don’t buy that $60 bottle of wine from Borghese on the North Fork (even though it tastes so good!). When the public, when society and its judgments about good and bad, is in the tower, as Joyce wrote a little bit about, we begin to self-police, to represent ourselves in acceptable terms, and if we deviate, we are quickly corrected, by the shame we feel ourselves or the shame imposed directly by others.
- Watching Each Other: Foucault’s Panopticon and Confessional in Social Media
- Big Brother: 9 Ways You’re Being Watched
- Social Media & The Digital Confessional: Full Outline
- Social Media & The Digital Confessional: Outlining a long post
- Ki Mae Heussner, “Digital Confessionals: Tweeting Away Your Vices”
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