The Social Media Mullet: What Would Philosophers Think of Social Media? Part 2

Make Me Social’s Phil Grech named his blog The Social Media Mullet because, like the hairstyle, it will discuss the fusion of “business” and “casual” under the banner of online communications.

In my last post, I talked about Social Media and existentialism (boring? Never). Existentialism is one of those words that gets thrown around a lot, so if you aren’t too sure, read this article that provides a good background on it, or just watch I Heart Huckabees. In this post, I want to take another shot at exploring philosophers’ possible views of Social Media.

Social Media Transparency and Bentham’s Panopticon –or- Why Jeremy Bentham Would Be a Horrible Social Media CEO

In 1787, English philosopher, Jeremy Bentham, designed the panopticon. No, it’s not a Transformer (though with a little imagination, it could be built). The panopticon is a prison model where a central tower filled with guards can, at all times, look at the prisoners whose prison cells form a circle around the tower.

The design is a good one because the prisoners cannot see inside the tower (thanks to whatever available technology there is: e.g. light system, two-way mirrors, etc.). The idea is that prisoners would be reformed by having to always be in good behavior, something that would become a habit after their lengthy prison sentence.

Online, we experience something quite similar. Despite Facebook privacy settings, our lives are still very much exposed. We never know who is watching us, who is looking us up, or what they are going to do with the information they find. That’s not much of a concern for a non-paranoid type like me, but if you’re a particular New York Congressman, you might want to be a little cautious.

If you think Mark Zuckerberg violates privacy rights on Facebook, imagine what Bentham would be like.

Foreshadowing my next post, I will discuss what Theodor Adorno’s perspective might be on things like the QR Code.


Phil Grech is a Content Manager for Make Me Social. He published his first book, “Don’t Waste Your Hands”, in 2009. He studied English and Philosophy at Flagler College. In his spare time, he reads, works out, gardens and searches for good conversation.


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Filed under Phil Grech, Social Media, The Social Media Mullet

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