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Why Visual Culture Has Allowed for the Destruction of Individual Privacy

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Final Argumentative Paper

Write a paper that describes why visual culture has allowed for the destruction of individual privacy.  In other words, what is it about modern visual media (the internet mainly, but also television) that has both enacted the destruction of privacy, and desensitized citizens to its destruction?  In addition, you may want to discuss whether this change has had an overall positive or negative effect on society.

Before you begin writing, you will need to find three sources from course readings that you think will influence your argument.  Include them in your paper by quoting them directly and explaining how those quotes assist your argument.

In addition, you will need to find four additional sources.  Two of those sources can be from news media (The New York Times, Vanity Fair, The Atlantic Monthly, etc.) and two must be from academic sources (use academic databases like the Humanities Database or Project Muse.)


Jamesler Stphard

Prof. Falvey

Society and Visual Media

14 October 2014

        Visual culture is otherwise known as an observed or created visual representation of the world lived in today. Since the world today has been all about visual media like the internet and television, individual privacy has been destroyed.

  •         The Internet is a more popular form of visual culture today as it has been in years past. It has been shown that because of this visual representation, the loss of individual privacy has been destroyed. “There's no denying that the Internet has dramatically changed over the past 20 years or so… The Internet is here to stay and it will affect how we learn”(Nicholas Jackson 1). Yes, the internet is a valuable source, and very helpful, but it is slowly removing privacy in everyone’s lives. Visual culture is desensitizing individuals to its destruction by making them think that if they having nothing to hide they shouldn’t be worried. Individuals aren’t realizing that “someday a stranger will read your e-mail, rummage through your instant messages without your permission or scan the Web sites you’ve visited ” (Bob Sullivan 1). Before the internet became popular, there were boundaries that no one would cross, information about people’s lives that remained private. Currently anyone in the world can access certain information about everyone. The privacy that people once had has been diminished. Yet, people don’t seem to care as much as they should.
  •               I believe that everyone has individual rights to privacy. We should be able to go outside without having to be worried that we may be on camera, and someone could be watching our every move. Cell phones should be able to be used for one’s own business. It is ridiculous that people are able to access anyone’s phone conversation, text messages, and even emails. Many people believe that those things don’t necessarily happen, but they are really happening all the time all over the world. Many individuals may be desensitized to what is going on around us, but wake up and smell the roses. What is being done is wrong, and we all deserve individual privacy. We should be allowed to control the information other people can get on us, as well as what information should only be for ourselves. We have been desensitized to what is going around us because we are told by the government, and others that what is going on is for our own protection, and that we don’t need all the privacy we have. I personally feel that privacy is one of the most important things a person could have, and that has been physically taken from people.
  •         The internet has been able to provide many services and things that no one imagined. It has been able to increase education and the means of learning. “It brings primary sources into every classroom and allows for more open and rapid communication between teachers and students” (Jackson 2). Since the internet has allowed for the improvement in things like education, no one wants to look at the negative affects, or what it is doing to the people. Today, many celebrities are having issues with photos being released, taking away any privacy that they may have had. There have been a few issues where iCloud, an apple application has been hacked and photos have been released. “We take pictures because we can. Our phones, with advanced image technology bundled into them, are always with us” (Marvin Heiferman 14). The technology used to allow us just to take pictures of anything, but now we are coming to find out that none of these pictures are safe even if they are just located on our phones.

Social media is an example of a negative as well as positive part of visual culture on the internet. Facebook is a well known website, used be various ages all over the world. When it was first created, it was mainly for college students. Now, almost anyone can create a profile. This provides a great impact on visual culture because it is possible to connect with relatives, and friends that you wouldn’t talk to otherwise. Recently, privacy on Facebook has changed. People feel the need to share whatever is on their mind, even the exact location at which they are. This is a negative part of visual culture, because people are giving away their own privacy by sharing whatever they can think of. YouTube is also another website that has became more and more popular over the years. “Among the more than three billion videos watched each day on sites such as YouTube, there is undoubtedly a lot of garbage… We must never assume that an appeal to the masses represents illiteracy. In fact, it implies a high degree of literacy. And in the new century, that increasingly means visual media” ( ). People are allowed to post whatever they want on YouTube, yet many of it isn’t very popular. We can’t look at the non- popular videos on YouTube as illiterate, we just need to realize this is what visual media has become, and it will effect it in the future as well. Applications such as Instagram and Twitter may be playing a role in the loss of privacy for individuals. Many people today feel the need to add locations as to where their picture was taken, or exactly what they are doing at that very moment. This shows that we have been desensitized individuals to destruction and loss of privacy.



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