I took a class a couple of years ago at Concordia as an adult—Concordia University in Montreal being my alma matter as I attended their Communication Studies program ending in 2001. The class talked a lot about Michel Foucault’s panoticon model, based on Jeremy Bentham’s architecture of a prison.
I also read in an academic journal (I can’t find the reference right now) for a paper I was doing for the class which used the word “omniopticon” to describe a type of prison, or world, where surveillance was baked in. Where everyone, excuse the reference “gawks” at everyone else.
In a lot of ways, the “omniopticon” is a lot worse than Foucault’s/Bentham’s panopticon because it is de facto enslaving even free people in the surveillance of everyone they know, ultimately in the service of marketing interests, at least on commercial social networks, as oppose to free open source ones like Mastodon, on the Fediverse.
I did a breakdown after a cursory perusal of the Fediverse in a post I wrote last year called It’s a Fediverse Planet.
Although other writers and critics have called the Fediverse a failure, I think this is incorrect, as it only continues to develop, with, for example, Mastodon being available in the Marketplace of DigitalOcean so you can easily install it on your own droplet/server to run your very own social networking server which federates with other Mastodon servers.
I also recently found out through a contact on the Fediverse on Mastodon that this contact is working on a one-click install for PeerTube. This software is obviously pre-alpha so I won’t reveal anything more as I don’t really know any more details, but PeerTube, being a peer-to-peer way to share videos, is surely a cool development away from the one-size-fits-all model of YouTube.
I think the point is that while it’s true there is an “omniopticon” out there, there are also alternatives to most, if not all, market leaders.
Another example is the discovery of DoorDash as an alternative to UberEats. At least in Montreal where I’m from, DoorDash has proven much cheaper and just a more interesting experience than UberEats. Who knew? I didn’t until I tried it.
So it goes, with the Fediverse.