The social technologies we see in use today are fundamentally panoptical - the architecture of participation is inherently an architecture of surveillance.
In the age of social networks we find ourselves coming under a vast grid of surveillance - of permanent visibility. The routine self-reporting of what we are doing, reading, thinking via status updates makes our every action and location visible to the crowd. This visibility has a normative effect on behavior (in other words we conform our behavior and/or our speech about that behavior when we know we are being observed).
Joshua-Michéle Ross, The Digital Panopticon, via O’Reilly Radar.
The author uses a fear-inducing analogy to explore what we risk and potentially give up when we casually share truths about ourselves on Facebook, Twitter, et al. I don’t see things in quite so ominous terms, but the article is thought-provoking nonetheless.