Living in and adapting to a culture of exposure: Exploring how visibility affects people's lives, thoughts and feelings

Anita Black, Jon McNeill and Mitra Martin
Hall & Partners, United States

INTRODUCTION

Today, somewhere in New York City, a well-dressed woman is rushing to her car as a photographer follows behind, snapping dozens of candid shots. This may sound like an apt description of a day in the life of a starlet, but actually it's the latest fashion statement courtesy of a company called Methodlzaz, which gives average people the chance to hire paparazzi to stalk them.

While this example may be extreme, it speaks to a cultural shift that is affecting us all. We are living in a culture of visibility – an environment where it has become normal to have what used to be private, hidden or personal shifted into the public space – sometimes purposefully, sometimes not. The average person's life, thoughts, even ennui are captured, broadcasted and glorified – through reality television, social networks, mobile technology – and even by researchers like ourselves.