Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Surveillance Studies

Dear Danah,

The concept of Surveillance Studies is growing as we continue to move into a digital age and the prevalence of media outlets emerges.  Situational power plays an important role in the construction of ideas about people watching and being watched.  The ability to hold power over others through authority and interactional dynamics is reiterated in the work’s of Bennett that Boyd later highlights.  While Bennet stresses the concept of privacy being individual-centric, the presence of group-centric surveillance models is also discussed.  Not only is privacy a dynamic, individually and socially constructed process, it is also fundamental to keep in mind the effects our social interactions and the networks we inhabit have.  With the example of Shamika, she was fully aware that she was being watched, but instead of feeding into the power of bullies, she “white-walled” her facebook in efforts to prove she held the reigns on her own life. Carmen, also aware, takes a different approach.  By practicing what is known as “social steganography” techniques, she determines who will be watching what she says because she knows only certain people will understand her.  Social mediums have yielded an environment in which participation is key to handling one’s privacy.  In turn, it gives people the ability to harness their power and shape their image and authoritativeness by controlling what others can watch and they themselves watch.   

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