Social Media & The Digital Confessional: Outlining a long post

Tentative Thesis: The internet, especially social media, can be read as Foucault’s confessional-turned-panopticon, in which people expose and put into language (text, pictures, videos, music) their experiences and stories, the process of which makes them subject those experiences to social discourse, to self-police and be policed in terms of the social norms and values of those watching from the tower, the confessors, the public, society.

Literature Review:

  • Foucault & the Panopticon & the confessional
  • Most of the literature reading the internet through Foucault thinks about government and corporate surveillance of activity and the dangers of waning privacy rights.
  • Some have lightly considered the work of watching and seeing each other via social media.


  • Confession sites
  • Twitter hashtag #tbh, #confession, and any others–suggestions, readers?
  • Representations of self and identity on Facebook–profiles and posts

Conclusion: Not quite here yet.


As you can see, I need some help thinking through all of this (although I’m a sparse outliner to begin with). Workshop in class should help, but do you have any thoughts? Let me know in the comments. Let’s make this collaborative.

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2 Responses to Social Media & The Digital Confessional: Outlining a long post

  1. Cool start. On the subject of Facebook, are you willing to think about how certain individuals create an alias on Facebook to post that side of them that they don’t want certain people to see? That, in my opinion, can also be considered a confession, because it is on a certain level anonymous and secretive.


    • araehug says:

      That’s an interesting suggestion–I would say that I think of that as a confession because you’re making public a side of you that you might normally keep secret and not confess/speak to others without the anonymity of the internet. So maybe there’s something here about that the internet encourages confession of not only the experiences we might keep secret/not tell to the public, but the identities we keep secret?


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