I was quite interested in what Adrian was saying in the lecture this week about our willingness to donate free labour and content to the Internet, on digital medias like Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and well, this blog. The whole premise of Wikipedia is that people will voluntarily donate their knowledge – generally without any kind of recognition. It was not a concept I had previously considered, but it really got me thinking – people are making serious money out of our free time and work. I researched into it and found this article, which was a bit too dense for my likings, yet made this article an absolute pleasure to read. In the latter, the writer quotes Terranova, who defines free labour on the internet as ‘simultaneously voluntarily given and unwanted, enjoyed and exploited’ and consisted of ‘building web sites, modifying software packages, reading and participating in mailing lists and building virtual spaces’. (2004, p.74)
The writer also draws really interesting comparisons to reality TV, where ‘consumers are invited to sell access to their personal lives’ in a way that is not dissimilar with how we can (over)share our personal lives through social media. (Andrejevic, 2004)
The more I read, the more fascinated I became, helped along by Adrian’s post with a link to this article from The Atlantic. Did you know (although this is only marginally related) that most start up sites, such as Pinterest and things like Pandora radio (a favourite of mine now ridden with ads) run on a thing called investor storytime. Ethan Zuckermann from The Atlantic refers to it as an ‘advertising future’ which is essentially the idea that these sites get paid big money by companies, with the guarantee that when the site gains enough followers and implements advertising, these companies investing their money will get prime advertising spots on the site, in turn, making them lots of dollars $$. Who knew!
Hesmondhalgh, D 2010, ‘User-generated content, free labour and the cultural industries’, Ephemera, accessed 25th August 2014, http://www.ephemerajournal.org/contribution/user-generated-content-free-labour-and-cultural-industries
Zuckermann, D 2014 ‘The Internets Original Sin’, The Atlantic, accessed 25th August 2014, < http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/08/advertising-is-the-internets-original-sin/376041/>