SocialMedia and Panopticon
Sharingon social media has become a necessity in everyday life for almostevery individual in the modern society. According to Marwick(378), the social networking has significant impacts on individuals,especially at the psychological level. Many studies point out that,social media creates a ‘panopticon’ effects influencing how theusers behave and interact with the online crowd. Panopticon is aninstitutional building designed by Jeremy Bentham, an Englishphilosopher, back in the 18thcentury. It was meant to monitor and control the behaviour of inmatesin a prison. The primary purpose of panoptican was to allow constantsurveillance of every single prisoner in a cell by the guard in thewatchtower. Despite the fact that it was impossible for a singleguard to constantly monitor the inmates, they could not tell whenthey are being watched or not. Therefore, the prisoners had no areaof privacy and had to behave as though being watched at all times.
Mitroupoints out that, social media is all about conscious and permanentvisibility because it acts a panopticon tool (6). When people sharetheir actions and ideas to a crowd, the social media exposes them toa virtual panopticon. Since each individual is aware that his or heractions are being monitored by the other users, he or she becomescautious of what is shared. Mitrou indicates that, there are noprisoners or guards in the virtual panopticon of social media (12).Therefore, when one share online, there is an interaction with acrowd which another influences their actions, and hence makes usembrace new identities, the same manner panoptic does to thejailbirds.
Marwick,Alice E. "The public domain: Social surveillance in everydaylife." Surveillance& Society9.4 (2012): 378.
Mitrou,Lilian, et al. "Social media profiling: A Panopticon orOmniopticon tool?." Proc.of the 6th Conference of the Surveillance Studies Network.2014.