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Welcome to the ‘Peep’ show

It is no secret that reality television has become even more popular throughout the years. Technology has found new ways to expand America’s infatuation for reality by opening up possibilities of communication and entertainment through networks such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and even YouTube.

Hal Niedzviecki explains in his novel, “The Peep Diaries: How We’re Learning to Love Watching Ourselves and Our Neighbors,” that these sites are only few of the many that are slowly but surely becoming a part of our everyday lives, whether we realize it or not.

Reality as we know it is no longer specified to just the Real World. Instead, the peeping nature of reality has become concentrated on us — our jobs, our relationships and even our beliefs. This reality phenomenon had permeated into a peep mainstream seen through online social networks.

To prove how much Americans are within the population of peepers — Niedzviecki states that 30 million people are Facebook members nationwide. Furthering that this site not only serves as a way to reconnect people but also as a way to poke, like, meet and date people who were once strangers.

Instead of face-to-face interaction, people have become dependent on the Internet, whereas the Web might have been used as a resource. Today, it is being used as a vehicle for entertainment and most of all, peeping. People without these social networks become nearly invisible to all peepers but manage to secure their privacy.

Just think about it. How often do you check Facebook and trail off to a friend’s profile, only to view multiple albums of pictures with people you do not even know? Have you ever typed your name or a friend’s name in Google just to see what filters through? If you do any of the following, you fall into the category of a “Peep” — a modernized spin on the classical version of the Peeping Tom.

Webster’s New World Dictionary defines the word overshare as “divulge(ing) excessive personal information, as in a blog or broadcast interview, prompting reactions ranging from alarmed discomfort to approval.”

Voyeurism has likewise become a counterpart to oversharing. For example, blogging allows members to be as discrete or as open as they choose to be. There is one story in particular that Niedzviecki tells in the book that was out of this world — literally.

He interviews Padme about her “Star Wars”-themed blog appearing to be about a stay-at-home mom but ends up diverging to her relationship with her husband who is her “Master” while she is his “slave.” Padme — a blogging name — begins discussing her frustrations about having her son’s birthday party at Chuck E Cheese only to quite suddenly transition to her love for vibrators. Niedzviecki is right: “You can’t make this stuff up.”

The book is well-written, extremely funny and insightful. In the end, readers with social networks may think twice before posting certain photos, messages, and daily annoyances for the world to see.

Rating: W W W W

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