Facebook and You Being a Voyeur

I heard someone say that Facebook is for the voyeur.  When you think of a voyeur, you probably thought about a peeping tom or something sexual.  I did, but then I looked up the definition of voyeur.

The first definition all had to do with all of our initial thoughts.  It all dealt with the sexual definition of voyeur – which I’m sure some people use Facebook for.

The second definition has to do with obsessively watching others – especially the unsavory details of their lives.  Another second definition had to do with an observer seeking the sordid or scandalous.

The etymology of the word reveals that it simply means to view or to see.  Somewhere along the line the meaning changed.  Regardless, Facebook encourages b0th definitions of the word.  It is one picture of who you are, but sadly, most people think that it is everything that you are.  Sometimes it’s the only picture they have of you so it becomes you.  Too bad.  It could be such a great tool for engaging in meaningful conversation – which happens even though most people just watch or just views.

What do you think?  Let me know.  Please leave a comment.


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7 thoughts on “Facebook and You Being a Voyeur

  1. I agree with you… I have felt like FB has been a venue for me to “be myself”. But in reality it appears that it is also venue for people (including myself @ times) to “creep” on the walls of those they wish harm upon.

    So here’s a question: Should we use it as a tool to be “a light” out in the world? Maybe, I just need to refocus & be accountable for, not my “posting”, but who I am “following”…. Or should I not be a part of it at all? I’m currently “stuck” somewhere in “Between-land”.

  2. Julie, I am totally with you. I almost didnt post that last post because if someone would have just read the title, they woyld have already decided what the post was about before reading it.
    I too am struggling with Facebook’s role in my life. On the one hand, it’s just a portal to thoughts and feelings, but a characteristic of disembodied, asynchronous, online interaction is that it reveals alot more than we think. On the other hand, it’s a place to meet just like we would meet people on real life and the balance of honesty with others and honesty with myself is key – but why isnt it the same?
    We are called to be in the world but not of it. Jesus has taken care of the “not of the world part,” but we ralk about it like it’s still up for debate. If u dont love the world an you love the Father then we can be in it but not of it.
    For all the creeping and voyeuring happening on Facebook, the encouragement and accountability i much stronger for me. When I post, I don’t hide. It’s out there for people to see. Facebook isn’t the problem, but it sure reveals the realities of our heart becauae out of thr abundance of the heart, we post on Facebook. I’d rather be whre the prople are and use the tools.
    Not sure that answered any questions but these are some of my thoughts. Thanks for reading. What are you thinking Julie?

  3. It’s embarrassing to think back on the many wasted hours I spent in University, “creeping” crushes, ex’s, the girls posting on their walls, etc. etc. rather than, oh I don’t know, studying?? I wish I could say I’ve matured, and gotten over that, but I definitely relapsed recently.

    I’ve been paying a lot of attention to the role of technology (social media, specifically) in our lives lately – watching documentaries, reading articles, etc. and like you both, it’s got me assessing and re-assessing my involvement with it. I almost deleted my Twitter account not 15 minutes ago based on a conversation I had with a friend last night (I just couldn’t make the leap though).

    I like my personal life to remain personal – but since I’ve moved thousands of kilometers away from most of my friends and family, Facebook is our primary source of communication with each other. My own privacy settings are as high as Facebook will allow (and thus far, I’ve had no complaints there) but I can only control so much of what’s out there. I can un-tag pictures I’m in, but I can’t take them down. I can delete things from my wall, but it could be hours before I log on and see it there. I’ve contemplated deleting my FB account too, but there are a lot of good things about the site that I would miss.

    I’m right there with you julie – stuck somewhere in Between-land.

    1. Amanda,
      You bring up some great points. What insights do you have from paying attention to the role of technology? Being in In Between Land doesn’t sound like such a bad thing.
      I am really interested in why we “creep.” What is the need? Why do we creep? There is something about this disconnected connectedness that feeds us. It’s a vicarious engagement, but at any time we can engage if we really wanted to. We truly need to belong. We want to be connected, but we like to do so secretly. I’d be interested in your insights on the role of technology.
      Thanks,
      Lem

  4. This is an interesting discussion. I found this by googling “facebook voyeur” because I’ve realized I am the worst kind of facebook voyeur. Alright–maybe not the very worst kind, which would be some malicious sexual stalker or something–but I’ve definitely gone over some kind of edge beyond normality here. I routinely look up old friends with whom I’ve long since fallen out of touch just to see if they’re out there and alright. These are always people I liked or admired and I want to find that they’re happy and doing well. When I do, I can usually let it go and forget about them again. I used to be a teacher and I have even looked up my former students, hoping to find that they went on with their studies and have built successful careers and lives for themselves. I would never try to contact these young adults–I was a first grade teacher, so they would be justified in finding it bizarre if I did and, besides, I have my own life–but I want to know that they did something with the gifts I saw in them, perhaps in spite of my poor teaching. I have looked up the now-teenaged toddlers from my children’s play groups for the same reason. If I’d lived all my life in a small town, I’d see these people around, even if we didn’t choose to be friends. Instead, I have moved many times and have few longstanding connections beyond my small family. Maybe my voyeurism is an attempt to feel rooted, connected to my past. I have former students and friends for whom I’ve prayed for years. When I find them on facebook and they look contented and busy, it’s a relief to thank God for the good in their lives and let them go. It’s awful to think that if these people knew I went searching for them anonymously they would be creeped out. The last thing I would want would be to cause anyone concern. I may be a little crazy, but I am harmless.

    1. Jane,
      Thanks for reading. The ones that you’ve looked for are a part of your life. It’s not a bad thing to look people up. In some ways – you are able to see the fruit of your labor – nothing wrong with that. It’s not crazy. There are alot of Facebook Creepers out there. I think the responsibility lies in what the person is projecting on their profiles. It’s a public venue.
      Thanks again for commenting. It’s great to hear what others are thinking.
      Lem

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