As I’ve been developing my ongoing series on the Blog Herald called “Exploring Social Media,” I’m constantly intrigued and nauseated at the new voyeurism that is sweeping our world and our online social life. It’s freedom of speech and expression meets voyeurism, changing the word-of-mouth gossip world forever.
With the recent announcement of a new feature in Woopra, I think the walls that divide us socially are going to crumble to the ground.
A Blog is Your Soap Box; Twitter and YouTube Your Show-off
In the earliest days of blogging, a blog was a personal space for people to have their say. That is what started WordPress, the need to make the process of having your say publicly on the web to be easier. People would set up a WordPress blog as themselves or anonymously, believing them had something to say worth reading, and worth publishing. Some took it seriously, while others blogged anything and everything that popped into their mind. How I envy that freedom of expression sometimes.
Matt Mullenweg has worked tirelessly to ensure that WordPress.com as a hosted blogging service stays free and open to anyone around the world with an opinion. He and his team fight constantly to not help those living in places that ban access to WordPress.com in violation of the true spirit of freedom of speech, as do bloggers around the world threatened by others, lawsuits, and governments to shut up. It challenges the courts to keep up with online defamation and libel issues as we all want our say on the web.
There is freedom of speech and then there is responsibility for that freedom, which many ignore as they spill their guts publicly. With the growing level of information we put out on the web and the risk to our security and privacy, we keep having our say, showing off our dirty laundry, reveling in the peeping tom thrill of it all.
There are those who want to say whatever they want and publish it, and there are those who just thrive in the virtual voyeurism that comes with the online social web. Being a peeping tom is easier than ever today as people open up their lives to the web world.
When people follow you on Twitter, they are inviting you into their space. In some cases, it’s their office. In others, it’s their home. In other cases, it’s literally their virtual bedroom. Not the bedroom for romantic affairs, but the bedroom we used to race to with our childhood friends to play cars and trucks, dolls and games, and in later years, to gossip and share secrets.
We watch their tweets scroll down our Twitter client, whether we want them there or not, and get a peek into their lives. We read their tweets as they get up in the morning, go to bed, take meal and snack breaks, debate over food options and dining choices. We see them struggle with relationships, family, children, and parents. Friends send cryptic messages back and forth in their own lingo while we try to figure out what they mean. In between all this, advice and help is exchanged, business deals started and ended, and a thread of the social work life winds its way in and out of personal revelations and gossip.
We even thread those tweets into our WordPress blogs and our blogs into our tweets. The seamless transparency between these mediums is almost gone.
As the web becomes more visual, we bring the pictures along with the words or replace the words with images on our blogs.
With the success of YouTube, anyone can now literally open the visual door to their life, telling their story, or capturing an embarrassing moment in the lives of others. One of the most popular videos on YouTube and other video services are the ones I call “stupid human tricks.” We love watching others make fools of themselves. I credit the television show “America’s Funniest Home Videos” for starting that trend in voyeurism, which has lead to “Survivor” and other shows where the camera moves into people’s day-to-day lives.
Pushing Online Voyeurism to the Next Level
So it’s appropriate that Woopra announce they’ve added a new feature for the next version of the popular live and real-time statistics and analytics program that takes social media voyeurism to the next level.
Using Woopra is a kind of voyeurism. You can track what visitors do live on your site as they click around and move through it. If they login or leave a comment, and Gravatars are enabled, you can see their avatars and their Visitor ID numbers become names. Visitor #24589 becomes Fred Smith. It changes how you think about your visitors.
One of the most popular features of Woopra is the Live Chat [currently under reconstruction] which allows the webmaster or blogger to chat live with any visitor on their site, without the need to install anything. People are breaking the website wall to interact with visitors.
The newest feature goes one step beyond both of these:
Woopra, the world’s fastest growing Web Analytics provider, today announced that the next version of its wildly popular real-time Website monitoring application will allow users to remotely activate and view Website visitor’s built-in Webcams.
The company’s chief scientist, Dr. Lirpa Sloof, said, “Woopra already provides the most robust, feature rich and easy to use Web analytics available. Today we extend our market lead by integrating our latest patent-pending technology to give Webmasters more information about their visitors than ever before.”
Combined with Woopra’s unique abilities to display individual Web site visitors in real time and track them by name, this new technology levels the playing field by enabling companies and individuals alike to gain unprecedented visibility into user demographics and preferences.
Check it out. It will change the face of social interaction on the web.
Note: Woopra is currently approving 5,000 random new beta testers for the closed private beta testing. Sign up and you might get approved. Installation is easy with the Woopra WordPress Plugin. The new feature will be available in the next stable release.
Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, member of the 9Rules Network, and author of Blogging Tips, What Bloggers Won't Tell You About Blogging.