A few days ago I read about a man who has been livestreaming the last McDonald’s burger in Iceland, before the fast-food chain shut shop in the country, for the last ten years. At one point of time, this livestreaming drew over 2 million hits per month. And today I came to know about a hotel in Japan which lets you stay a night for a nominal tariff, if you are okay with your sojourn being livestreamed. According to CNN, guests at Asahi Ryokan can pay just ¥100 (around one dollar) per night to hole up in the hotel’s room number eight, if they agree to have their entire stay livestreamed. Ofcourse there are some regulations in place. Only the video of the guest’s stay will be recorded, leaving out the conversations, the bathroom is thankfully out of the camera’s range, while the guests also have the liberty to turn off the lights at night. However, the idea of being watched while you sleep, eat or scratch in a hotel room sounds totally bizarre. Or does it?
- A hotel in Japan will accommodate you on a dollar's tariff if you agree to let your stay be livestreamed.
- Does this scheme seem outlandish in the age of digital overexposure?
- The live streaming channel for this hotel already has a thousand subscribers.
- Does this mean that we have an audience which is eager to invade into someone's personal space to observe them like lab specimens?
Guests at Asahi Ryokan can pay just ¥100 (around one dollar) per night to stay in room number eight, if they agree to have their entire stay livestreamed.
As per the above-stated report the YouTube channel which livestreams the stay of guests at Asahi Ryokan has already crossed 1,000 subscribers. So, as of now there are 1,000 people in the world who have a genuine interest in watching people in a hotel room habitat, like Guinea pigs. I don’t know what’s more unsettling, the fact that people can trade privacy for a cheap hotel stay, or that there is a substantial audience for such livestreams. Even when you leave factors like intimacy (which I read is prohibited in room number eight) etc, it mustn’t be comfortable to know that you are being watched constantly. That someone may be analysing your every gesture; the way you eat, sleep, walk, or what you do in your spare time.
However, we live in the age of digital overexposure. People are more than willing to trade their privacy for a few seconds of fame, or out of sheer curiosity. Our holidays, dates, relationships and jobs, everything is open for viewing. Be it in form of tweets, blogs, pictures of videos, most of us have no qualms in putting up such aspects of our lives on display for strangers, which we would think twice before sharing with people close to us, in the pre-social networking era. It doesn’t exactly make us attention seekers, but just a lot that has a very different perception of privacy and frankly no one can judge. From someone else’s point of view, posting intimate photographs from your holiday is also crossing the line of privacy that they toe.
We live in the age of digital overexposure. People are more than willing to trade their privacy for a few seconds of fame.
From the audience’s perspective, it is fascinating, the kind of content that draws people. Is it a sign of how lonely our existence is that we feel the urge to watch random people mind their business? I guess in times where there is too much high octane entertainment at one’s disposal, what a lot of people crave for is stillness and unfiltered reality. This reality doesn’t have to be grotesque or charming, high paced or engaging. It can be mundane and slow paced, as long as it is real people doing real things without a care in the world for how the camera will project them to the world.
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.