Sharing is Caring

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)

Free Labour

photo credit: mkhmarketing via photopin cc

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!

Referenced works: 
Hesmondhalgh, D 2010, ‘User-generated content, free labour and the cultural industries’, Ephemera, accessed 25th August 2014,

Zuckermann, D 2014 ‘The Internets Original Sin’, The Atlantic, accessed 25th August 2014, <>

Commonsensical Reveals

To my surprise, the lecture today debunked the theory that most of my high school teachers instilled in me, that Wikipedia being an unreliable source. Previously, I have often sidestepped the Wikipedia link when ‘googling’ something, thinking it was untrustworthy. Little did I know about the statistic that claims its validity over Encyclopedia Britannica, a source that although I hadn’t used, I had deemed highly reliable. Adrian also said something useful in relation to Wikipedia, along the lines of, and I use these quotations marks loosely; ‘while there are a lot of people posting untruths, there are also a lot of people online debunking these untruths’. And therefore, you really just need to be an active surfer of the web, questioning things and using your common sense. Which, alas, is probably common sense.

On other things in the lecture – literacy can actually stand as an extremely broad term and is defined as ‘the competence or knowledge in a specified area’.
Some examples in everyday life: how to cross the road, how to understanding the sizing system of clothes, how to brush your teeth, how to listen to music. These are all literacies that we learn and develop over a time and network literacy is no different. In fact, it has been implemented as part of the curriculum for many schools and is slowly starting to gain prevalence in early education. Part of me wishes I were a part of this movement as I slowly scramble to update my network literacy. Is anyone else freaking out about the HTML test coming up?


As I scurried into the lecture (late again, cursed 56!) I caught the end of Adrian’s reference to materiality and immediately flashed back to my overwhelmed self a week prior… Philosophy again? Really?

Regardless of my initial dismay, much of what he had to say was in fact extremely thought-provoking. His overarching idea: materiality matters. My lightbulb moment occurred as he asked us to take away all discursive meaning of a book and attempt to explain it to someone that has never seen nor heard of one before. It was near impossible and I kept being roadblocked by yet another question ‘but what are pages?’, ‘what are letters?’. It made me realise that everything I understand about a book is in its materiality and the preconditions I’ve developed about it.
He then moved on to question our expectation that a narrative would have a beginning, middle and end. And well, since Aristotle times, this is precisely true. A story without such a narrative structure leaves my mind reeling and makes me feel more than a little uncomfortable. Yet have I unconsciously been experiencing this bizarre approach to narrative online everyday? In a network that is entirely limitless and you have complete control over where you begin and finish to read, does a beginning middle and end exist? I think that yes, each singular entry online has some kind of structure and this is integral to our understanding of it. I can’t tell if this is my OCD personality talking however, so it will be interesting to see how my perceptions change (if at all) over the semester.



As it is now week 3, reflecting back to the first unlecture or symposium seems a bit hazy. (Note to self, stay on top of blog posts!) Especially as my notes page consisted only of two words ‘quality vs quantity’… (Note to self, be more attentive with note taking!) However my memory is not so shabby that I do remember sitting in the room wondering why we were in building 56 and why do I feel like I’m in a philosophy lecture? Fair to say my brain wasn’t at all prepared for the nature of discussion in week 1.


Something I did take away from it (apparent in my thorough notes) was the limitless capacity of knowledge we have at our fingertips. Accessing academic writings or works does not mean going to University. University holds a very different role in contemporary society, one thats job to me, as a student, is to provide me with the tacit knowledge, rather than explicit. To give me quality training which will ready me for the workforce in ways other surface definitions.

On the basis of that introductory lecture, I am expecting big things from this course and am excited (yet slightly apprehensive) to see what’s next!

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