I Was the First One Naked, but Nobody Noticed!

A few years ago I coined the word “cybernudism” to describe the philosophy of giving up any privacy to combat security and privacy issues. If you have no secrets, nobody can hold anything against you. At its most literal, cybernudism labels the strange phenomenon of people using their webcams to document their lives down to their deepest and darkest sexual proclivities to any stranger who will watch. Today I attribute to cybernudism the success of reality shows, weblogging, the rise of news commentary and the ability of people to profit from their notoriety.

Cybernudism is not a word that has spread beyond the few people to which I have mentioned the idea. However, there are no new ideas, and Jeffrey Rosen has now explored the idea in his book The Naked Crowd. Wired has an interview with the author and describes the book as an exploration of “the willingness of Americans to abandon privacy for perceived security.” At Amazon.com, the Editorial Review states “In the weakest part of the book, Rosen tries to connect his larger thesis about the need to balance privacy and security to the emergence of reality TV and the exhibitionism of blogs and other technologies.”

On a personal note, and in the interest of cybernudism, what the hell have I been doing these past few years? Why am I so lacking in self-confidence? I’m not saying I could have written that book, but dammit, I COULD have written that book!

I am not yet sold on cybernudism in practice. I look forward to reading Rosen’s book, but first I will privately vent through several minutes of ferocious cursing and self-flagellation.

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Richard Leis

Richard Leis is a writer and poet living in Tucson, Arizona. His poetry has been published in Impossible Archetype. His essays about fairy tales and technology have been published on Tiny Donkey and Fairy Tale Review’s “Fairy-Tale Files“.