“In his book Discipline and Punish, philosopher Michel Foucault describes how surveillance operates as a mechanism of control. When inmates believe they are being watched, they conform to what they believe to be the norms of the prison and the expectations of their jailors. Surveillance is a mechanism by which powerful entities assert their power over less powerful individuals.”

In this blog post, I will be responding to the post made by Xinyi about this same quotation that I have provided above. Her claim in her blog post is that people behave differently knowing that they are being watched and could be caught doing something at any moment. She also discusses the idea of the panopticon, and how it violates the fundamental right to privacy. I think that her argument makes a lot of sense, but I disagree with certain parts of it. People know that when they post things on social media, they are more permanent. There is, however, a kind of paradox with this. On one hand, people are more uncivil online because they feel removed from the people they are talking to. On the other hand, there are more repercussions to comments made online, and without this balancing factor created by the lack of privacy, social media may be more toxic than it already is.

Although I believe that social media creates an accountability that doesn’t exist when people talk in person, I do agree with the point that Xinyi made that social media makes people not be their true selves. She makes the point that people online only post the best parts of their lives, and they leave out the struggles many times. People viewing these post misinterpret the context of these posts, and may not get the full picture of who someone is. They may form preconceived notions about people they barely know, and this is an issue with the lack of privacy that social media creates.