Sample Chapters: Excerpts

Sample Chapters

Chapter 1: introducing peep culture

In December of 2008, the editors of Webster’s New World Dictionary chose the verb “overshare” as their word of the year.  It’s a new term – the aforementioned editors describe it as “emerging English.”A weird word for a weird time,  the awkward end to an awkward year, and, though it’s unlikely to be remembered as such, a potent marker indicating a major cultural shift. In 2008 a dynamic new President of the United States was elected, Apple released the iPhone 3G, and global capitalism teetered, all turning points we won’t soon forget. And yet that single ungainly word, overshare, may prove to be more significant. For 2008 was the year we unequivocally and unceremoniously ushered in a new era: the Era of Peep Culture.

Peep culture is Reality TV, YouTube, Flickr, MySpace and FaceBook. It’s blogs, chatrooms, amateur online sex, virally spread digital movies of a fat kid pretending to be a Jedi Knight, cell phone photos of your drunk friend making out with her ex-boyfriend posted online, and citizen surveillance. Peep is the backbone of Web 2.0 and the engine of corporate and government data-mining. It’s like the famous line about pornography: you know it when you see it. And you do see it. All the time, everyday, everywhere.

Peep, like the sudden stunning rise of television in the 1950s, seems relatively innocent. Friends connecting. Overly enthusiastic teenagers pushing boundaries. People of all stripes and demographics gathering (virtually) to talk about their lives, likes, dislikes, and problems. But look at what happened with television: Such virtuous fare as Rin Tin Tin, Gunsmoke, Father Knows Best, and You Bet Your Life somehow led us to TV dinners, childhood obesity and bowling alone. In less than a decade, television changed how we ate, socialized, and maybe even thought. Television changed society forever, but while it was happening it was hard to notice. We were too busy transfixed to what TV was showing (as opposed to doing). Elvis gyrated his pelvis, Sputnik pierced space, Cuban was blockaded and we watched, somehow missing the big story.

It’s the same today. While we watch the overlapping “wars” on “terror,” get close up views of global warming, and access the intimate details of the lives of celebrities, how we socialize, shop, play, mate, date, and maybe even process information, all are undergoing fundamental transformation. But there’s nothing in particular to worry about or pay attention to. Kids will be kids, oversharing is the word of the year, and if you want me, I’ll be online, updating my status, posting my book reviews, and uploading videos of my root canal.


The Book: The Peep Diaries

The Peep Diaries will be Published by City Lights Books in May 2009
ISBN 1991022

Buy The Peep Diaries Right Now:
In the United States:
In Canada: Chapters/Indigo Amazon:


The Publisher: City Lights

City Lights Books

City Lights Publishers

In June of 1955, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, co-founder of City Lights Bookstore, launched City Lights Publications with the Pocket Poets Series. The first volume was a collection of his own poems, Pictures of the Gone World, which has since become a classic of beat literature and… more...


Author! Author!

Hal Niedzviecki is a writer, culture commentator and editor whose work challenges preconceptions and confronts readers with the offenses of everyday life. He is the author of six books including the novel The Program and the nonfiction book The Peep Diaries: How We’re Learning to Love Watching Ourselves… more...