In the spring of 1996, an enterprising American college student named Jennifer Ringley connected a webcam to her computer and began seven years of uninterrupted self-exposure. JenniCAM, as she eventually named it, was the first no-holds-barred lifelogging experiment on the world wide web. Every 15 seconds, the webcam uploaded another still image - from the mundane to the erotic - exposing the uncensored life of a young woman coming of age.
The web at the time of JenniCAM was still in its infancy: this was before Google made it navigable, before the dotcom bubble began to inflate, and before Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was out of short trousers. Compared with the modern world of universal broadband access, instant feedback and streaming video, it was achingly slow: websites with pictures took entire minutes to download, and publishing anything required expert knowledge in at least one computer language.
JenniCAM represented our self-aware future, the place we inhabit in the second decade of the 21st century, now that 82% of American adults use the web, and the average amount of time we spend online doubles every five years. We have evolved into the people that JenniCAM represented: both the voyeur and the viewed.
Twenty years after Jennifer first switched on her webcam, we retrace some of her steps and wonder why, at a time when everyone else has gone online, she's switched off...
Produced by Victoria McArthur.