Yesenia (Jessie) Williams
Trebor Scholz: Digital Labor 2013
In class, my group concluded that what Mr. Scholz states about the social media site, Facebook, capitalizing on the data usage and as a result, “the “users”, are sold as the product”, is accurate. Such practices of buying and selling the data for the sole purpose of profit places the user in an unusual predicament. Social media has become such a vital part of everyday lives and routine. It is often second nature to check Facebook even before your first cup of coffee. This undeniable urge, some might call it compulsion, transpires amongst many, for reasons we can’t explain. With partaking in these activities, are we, the users, being exploited or are we ourselves engaging in the formation of this exploitation unaware of the financial gain and benefit of others? Our history and updates are being monitored and specifically catered to attract certain companies.
Trebor Scholz brings up an interesting idea on whether these activities constitute “labor”. If the things we do on Facebook for fun, to remain in touch, which is meant as an innocent pastime, in fact ring more true as free labor, that would place a heavy emphasis on questioning what exactly are we engaging in and at what cost. These companies are reserving what is leisure in our minds for a specific purpose in mind. Essentially Facebook’s packaging is deceiving us with an array of advertising while promoting a sense of consumerism that places the users at the very center.
However, even with this information being communicated to the user, it most likely will not change the frequency or motivation to continue to use Facebook. The financial gain to companies for our free pastime will continue to flourish. Even with the threat of limited privacy laws and information being sold, it does not deter the majority from using the site, because what it provides, some might find outweigh these concerns; and others may not find themselves offended by this notion that Trebor Scholz proposes.