Digital Labour

Ddefinition: A new type of labour that creates value through the interconnection of information and communication technologies.

Source: https://bbhosted.cuny.edu/bbcswebdav/pid-42283750-dt-content-rid-347490560_1/xid-347490560_1

Explanation: Digital labour isn’t recognized as real work by corporations because people are not paid for it. Since users are voluntarily using social media sites to generate their own blogs, social networking sites, wikis, microblogs, they are doing so out of their own fruition and so they are essentially working for free. Youtube may generate millions of views from a video created by one of their users which may lead millions of subscribers to have an active Youtube account, but that user may only see a fraction of the money they generated for the company. These for profit social media sites profit from the activities of these users. It is thought by many that users of these platforms are exploited by these corporations by others argue that they are not exploited because no one forces them to use their platforms. There is a lot of controversy surrounding this topic but the fact remains that companies like Facebook have made millions from the work that the users on their site provide.

Algorithm

Definition: A process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, especially by a computer.

Source: https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/algorithm

Explanation: The websites we use; Google, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube all use a specific algorithm to memorize and learn the types of content we like and don’t like in order to provide us with content that will fit in with our unique taste. This way, the only results that pop up when we search for information or log in to our social media profiles are the results that have been mathematically generated to be a prediction of what machines think we would click. Some say it is not a good idea to do this because it only gives us our perspective on things which keeps us from getting the whole truth.  News feeds and search results are created based on our past likes and past likes and dislikes on posts and comments.

Technocultural Imagination

Definition: The technocultural imagination composes of an being in a state of expectation and assumption, as well as having an ideology of desire.

Source: file:///C:/Users/jarin/Downloads/SSRN-id875471.pdf Page 4 and https://bbhosted.cuny.edu/bbcswebdav/pid-42283748-dt-content-rid-347490559_1/xid-347490559_1 page 8

Explanation

A person who uses a technocultural imagination thinks about how people in a society can get technologies manufactured and sold. They consider the historical factors that decide why one technology may succeed and another fails. They also question how impactful technology has been to influence and determine history. The technocutural imagination is a global phenomenon fueled by techno-optimism, civil libertarianism, and a bit of neoliberalism and demands engagement by everyone, not just specific groups of people.

Stickiness

Going hand in hand with spreadability is Stickiness.

The idea that content wants to BE spreadable, but it only gets to BE that if it IS sticky.

Stickiness envelops the actual content itself and the way it is formatted and how appealing it is on an individual level.  Tastes vary, so sticky content that can ALSO be spreadable has to maintain a balance of sticking to one individual and yet appealing in a broad sense to be spreadable

As an example, when Facebook started it was sticky to the first adopters of the site and yet its premise and POTENTIAL was so spreadable that it can be considered one of the most spreadable websites in the world now.

Written in Jenkins “Why Media Spreads”

Spreadability

“refers to the potential—both technical and cultural—for audiences to share content for their own purposes,
sometimes with the permission of rights holders, sometimes against
their wishes.” -Jenkins pg 3

The idea that content actively exists and is popularized due to this ability to grasp the cultural zeitgeist.  The spreadability of an article or piece of media or even social media platform speaks to a culmination of good advertising, short and easily approachable writing and appealing visuals.  Things can be spreadable only to certain demographics and can even be repelling to opposing demographics but the more spreadable a piece of content is, the more it remains in our cultural conversation and is how social media platforms overtake one another, dictating what is “in” now

Week 7

These were my favorite passages from Is Google Making Us Stupid: 

“Kubric’s Dark Prophecy: as we come to rely on computers to mediate our understanding of the world, it is our own intelligence that flattens into artificial intelligence.”

“The kind of deep reading that a sequence of printed pages promotes is valuable not just for the knowledge we acquire from the author’s words but for the intellectual vibrations those words set off within our own minds. In the quiet spaces opened up by the sustained, undistracted reading of a book, or by any other act of contemplation, for that matter, we make our own associations, draw our own inferences and analogies, foster our own ideas. Deep reading, as Maryanne Wolf argues, is indistinguishable from deep thinking.”

“Foreman concluded, we risk turning into “‘pancake people’—spread wide and thin as we connect with that vast network of information accessed by the mere touch of a button.”

They resonated with me, especially the second quote, because I too have noticed how short my attention span is when reading long articles. Carr started his article off referring to this problem people face today due to internet/tech overload. Our information is abundant but broken down into bite size pieces in order for us to ingest more at once, that’s a recurring theme in all of the material. But we aren’t completely benefiting from this innovation.  As Foreman stated, “spread wide and thin as we connect with that vast network of information…”

Sure we have more convenience. For instance, I can take my tablet and read my homework on the train, or send an email while grocery shopping, but when I sit down to read at home, I fall asleep. I can’t focus. I’m not retaining the information…. why? Is it really because my brain has reprogrammed itself, am I tethered? I have to sit back and monitor my behaviors now. The evidence is there in many case studies. And it’s a bit jarring to accept as our new normal. The book industry is still alive and well, thankfully, and I hope it stays that way. Some things are best left unchanged.

Week 6

“Always On”

“This is the experience of living full time on the net, newly free in some ways. Newly yoked in others. We are all cyborgs now. People love their new technologies of connection. They have made parents and children feel more secure, revolutionized business, education, scholarship, and medicine.”

Turkle argues that we have become tethered versions of ourselves.  By constantly being on our technological devices we have detached ourselves from our “real” realities, and instead live in a world of constant attachment, need for approval, etc. I don’t know that I agree with him 100% But I do believe that unfortunately people do take themselves far too seriously online. The Net can be profitable if used strategically. It can also be therapeutic if used for entertainment and with moderation. But never should people allow themselves to miss out on an opportunity to meet a great person standing next to them because they are so focused on “swiping left”.

And Tristan Harris’ “How Technology Is Hijacking Your Mind”, he does the due diligence of breaking it down into bite size, relatable, and understandable pieces. One point in particular I wanted to bring to the class’ attention because I think to a degree we all do this; FOMO (fear of missing out) and its important to understand its causes, its symptoms, and how to either avoid it or lose the feeling. We are individuals, and should never feel less than or require validation outside of ourselves. I appreciate the Net for all its worth, but if we aren’t careful we will see robots walking around with us… question is, will we even notice the difference with our heads buried in our phones?

Check out his video : https://www.paldesk.com/what-is-fomo/

Week 5

“Or, to put it in somewhat different terms, submission to forms of commercial surveillance becomes one of the conditions of employment, just as submission to monitoring becomes, over time, a built-in condition of the wage–labor contract and, indeed, one of the reasons for the development and structure of group workplaces.”

What can we do? Is all I can think of after reading this week’s material. As an entrepreneur, the best thing that I candors with this information is to apply it. We sit back and watched as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc., became these powerhouses of social networking. We didn’t read the terms and conditions because we didn’t care. We made no fuss when Facebook bought Instagram and garnered even more of our data, and increased their power in the market. And why? Because we need them just as much as they need us. We can complain all day about the internet, social media, mass media, etc. but we are complicit! Unless of course, you live in the woods, off the grid, there’s absolutely no way to get around in the world today without the aid of the net. When I make short drives and don’t know the address, and use my GPS, I am complying with the understanding that by inputting my location, if I should later receive a search result from Google based on the location I was at earlier, should come as no surprise to me. SO why does it?! Or so it did.

“The Like Economy” and “Social Network Exploitation” provided a very clear cut explanation into the roles we all play in the transfer and use of information. I added the quote at top because it summarized both readings for me. Without some form of submission how do we expect to progress? And is it possible to defy our basic instincts to socialize and connect? What do we stand to lose if we decide not to participate or interact on the net? Can we financially support ourselves? Is it wise not to stay abreast of current events? Do we gain more confidence? It’s a two sided coin, but the short answer I think is, we’re in too deep. Go with the flow, enter at your own risk, make intelligent and productive decisions on the net, and go!

Week 4

DIgital Labor has been the topic of discussion in all of my Comm classes this semester. And it’s a wonder to me that the public is so uninformed about this issue. Even with all of the news headlines and data that is readily available to us. I wonder if people knew that they were in fact providing free labor to the digital economy, if they would change their web based behaviors. Would people be more careful about sharing their personal information over the web? And if so, what would be the result of that? Unfortunately we know. In 2019 heading into 2020, the data economy keeps the globe spinning.

I wanted to include this passage; “Raymond Williams focuses in his essay “Means of communication as means of production” on the structures of communication, i.e. media (including language and mass media), and argues that they are means of production and therefore “indispensable elements both of the productive forces and of the relations of production” (Williams 1980, 50)…. The most concrete way he addresses this issue is by saying that lan- guages and communication are “forms of social production” (Williams 1980, 55).” We are communicating at rapid speeds these days, and our need to connect, our basic human instincts to stay connected and feel validated of some sort, puts us both in the a position of power, and servitude. Everything from our interpersonal connections at work or school, to our cross cultural communication with nations across  the globe with whom we trade and align ourselves with, all our affect our daily lives.

Although many predicted at the onset of the internet, that data collection and social gathering on the web would come to this point, the public never had a chance. Our desires, our interests, our fears, are all being exploited. When we send our children to study abroad, when we search a fancy restaurant for our anniversary, when we search for a new career role, every search, every word, every one of our locations all attributes to the collection of data, the sell of data, and the exploitation of unwitting digital labor.

Dataism

Definition

An ideology where Big Data and information flow reign supreme.

Source

“Yuval Noah Harari on big data, Google and the end of free will” by Yuval Noah Harari pg 2

Explanation

In a time of increasing complexity, data is viewed as an invaluable resource in navigating the modern world. There are those, “Dataists”, who believe that through biometric data and computing power, these systems can understand human beings better then they understand themselves. Dataism is an almost pseudo-religion where its believers have faith that algorithms can decipher life and make the best choices for themselves and the world around them, rather than human beings.