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5 Hybrid Assignment 01

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% Farrah Duplessis completed

I do not think the buying and selling of data complicates the way that we differentiate between work and leisure.  I think the only effect it might have is the eventual bombardment of advertising.  In which case, it becomes more of a nuisance rather  than work.  I believe Scholz’s Digital Labor refers to the exchange of getting a “free” service for the cost of your information.  The closest thing to labor is when Scholz says, “ Harry Potter fans produce fan fiction and give their creative work away for free in exchange for being ignored by the corporation that owns the original content” in which case it is not really work if you did not do it expecting to be compensated.  Updating statuses and likes are not considered work either if it is not obviously coming at an actually monetary price.

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% Gilbert Woods completed

The amount of time we spend on leisure activities using the internet usually outweighs the amount of time we spend using the internet for activities that will bring us profit. However, although the platforms on which we play online are free to us, that doesn’t mean that our leisure activities are not lucrative on some level.   While we are online, whether for business or pleasure, our user data is being collected by third parties, from which they glean valuable market information.  Traditionally, companies wishing to gain market information had to pay for actual man-hours as it takes time to obtain information about individual’s preferences to the extent that companies like Facebook have achieved.  The expense the company formerly would have had to undertake is eliminated; it is now the user/client of Facebook who is voluntarily giving intimate details of every facet of their personality that those who will later purchase the user data, does so at a huge discount.  Imagine the sheer amount of market research it would take for a company to know your favorite foods, your exact location 24hrs a day, your phone numbers, email addresses, how many children you have etc. – all of the information we give when we fill out an online profile, and click acceptance to the terms of use is extremely valuable to market researchers and advertisers.  The collection and sale of user data involves a savings of cost to data collectors:  users are the ones spending the man-hours without any compensation for providing a user presence significant enough to be profitable to advertisers thus the line between work and leisure is contorted.  What counts as leisure activity to one person may well be a source of income to another.

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% Simone Glover completed

The Internet is an information highway in which a person can access a vast amount of information by way of a computer, phone and tablet, to retrieve valuable data, evidence, facts, news, and socially interact with people around the world.  It is a democratizing way for the world to connect with one another and be free to do so.  In Astra Taylor’s The People’s Platform, Taking Back Power and Culture in a Digital Age, Chapter one’s “Peasant Kingdom” , Taylor gives us the beginning of the spot lighted take on how we are not as free as we thought in the new age of technology and information sharing.  In fact, Taylor explains that the democratic audience of the information highway is nothing more than a repressive state of people who fall in the scheme of things by Capitalists endeavors, without any knowledge of it.  A Peasant Kingdom starts to explain how we are pawns of Capitalists schemes, which use us as for capital gain.  It was interesting to me how Taylor explains how “The online sphere inspires incessant talk of gift economies and public spiritedness and democracy, but commercialism and privatization and inequality lurk beneath the surface”. After reading this chapter, I’ve taken a closer look at the purpose of it all, and I start to question, just how free am I in this capitalist society?  When I think further, I realize that this is a kingdom of Capitalism perpetuated by Dictators who look at us as peasants who will use us to help them to gain more power.

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% Dree-el Simmons completed

Dree-el Simmons

IAS 31168 – Digital Media & Society

Prof. E. Bullock

August 29, 2015-08-29

(submit on time via email due to technical issues)

 

Taylor Hybrid:

 

My personal interpretation of Taylor’s quote would be that, in our social structures, technology is not purely good or bad; rather, the intent behind its employ is what determines and distinguishes its role, place and function.  It is the same dynamic as with a firearm.  A gun, in and of itself, is neither good nor bad; but rather, it is the use and the intent of its wielder that gives the tool its ultimate purpose.  In the hands of an officer of the law, or anyone that is using a gun to protect and safeguard the lives of oneself or others, this tool can be regarded as good, for it can be said to be servicing a higher and more noble purpose; however, the reverse is true when a gun is in the hands of someone set to cause destruction and devastation; then, the same gun is interpreted as a weapon of great violence and/or sinister intent.

Conceptually, technology is a tool created to make the lives of people in society easier by rendering long and/or tedious chores to be faster and simpler to accomplish.  This is not to say that, technology has not been created and employed to cause great or mass destruction and harm.  Yet, even such technologies cannot, in and of itself, be identified as the cause or impetus of its design and/or use.  However, an argument can be made that by the inherent nature of what technology is, it creates a detachment from the immediate and visceral effects of actions, leading to an environment where such tools can be misused.  Therefore, we have to be diligent and mindful of the intent and use of the technologies we employ in all aspects of our society, today and in the future.

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% Mahwish Khalid completed

Hi my name is Mahwish Khalid. Our group reading in class this week was Excerpt from Trebor Scholz’s Digital Labor. In our group the girls and I agreed to the conclusion that we came up with is, that we are the workers who help make Facebook millions of dollars for free by collecting our data. Millions of people around the world use Facebook to connect to family and friends, and also for entertainment. Regardless, how private we make our profiles, sharing and tagging, it’s all open to Facebook and they have all the right to sell our data to the third party, it has to be in the agreement that we click ‘agree’ to without reading the entire agreement.

Facebook keeps track of our sharing, liking, status updates, pictures, check ins, and etc. and makes profit by selling it to the third party, that’s why things, places and compiles we like don’t magically appear on the pages we visit on our digital devices. Though, Facebook is free and for leisure, but we end up advertising for companies and products for free and Facebook makes tons of money from it. We are free workers of Facebook and we do it knowingly.

Best,

Mahwish

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% Shanna Williams completed

Good evening everyone.  My name is Shanna Williams and my post is in response to Turner’s essay on the shift of society’s view of technology in the 1990’s versus the 1960’s.  The elaborate shift in this viewpoint can be explained by a variety reasons.  The society of the 1960’s was vastly different from the society of the 1990’s.  The 1960’s represented a time of extreme change and upheaval.  The various movements and social tensions of the 1960’s gave way to an “anti-establishment” belief and this trickled down to the technological advances of the period.  Technology was viewed as part of the problem; it stifled free speech, encouraged conformity and discouraged individuality .  It became a symbol that was synonymous with the Vietnam war.  Technology was the antithesis of 1960’s culture.

Turner posits that the 1990’s ushered in a new perspective towards technology.  The new wave of the internet was marketed as a tool that would unite the masses; the internet would form a great digital utopia that would unite the masses and accept everyone regardless of the differences that existed.  It gave birth to the rise of individualism.  The mindset of 1990’s society diametrically opposed the mindset of the 1960’s and this is largely due to the different views and belief systems that changed over the course of 30 years.

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% Joyce Julio completed

Hello everyone,

My name is Joyce Julio. Our group’s reading was Scholz’s Digital Labor, and we discussed about how Facebook makes money out of its users (particularly its users’ data and activity such as likes and status updates) as well as how the buying and selling of data complicate the way that we differentiate between work and leisure.

We use Facebook for free, mostly to connect with family and friends, to keep ourselves updated on what’s new and what’s going on with them, and to share updates on what’s going on with us. We like our friends’ status, posts, and pictures. We also like certain companies’ Facebook pages and posts. We do these things for leisure. We do not think of this as labor. However, the collection and selling of our data and activities on Facebook to third party companies are sources of profits for Facebook. We may not be aware of this because we enjoy what we do on Facebook such as posting updates and pictures and liking company pages and services. But, the information we share and our activities are being tracked, collected, and shared by Facebook to third party companies.

One might wonder why, after searching for certain products on the Internet (not on Facebook but on sites like Google or Amazon etc.), you will see the same products or services that you searched for on your Facebook as advertisements. This is because unless you opt out of these advertisements options on your privacy settings, Facebook will show these targeted ads on your newsfeed as part of its agreement with those third party companies.

We use this “free” social networking site in exchange for our information and activities that they collect and use for their profits. When we like companies’ and services’ pages, it seems like we advertise for them for free while Facebook gets paid for them. It may seem like the free use of Facebook is just for leisure, but it also involves providing labor to them for free. And I think this is how the buying and selling of data blur the lines between work and leisure.

Thanks,

Joyce

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% Yauheniya Chuyashova completed

My name is Yauheniya Chuyashova and I am responding to the excerpt from Fred Turner’s “From Counterculture to Cyberculture”.

In this piece Turner talks about people’s views of technology in 1960s and 1990s. People’s opinions of technology got into a big changes. I think one of the reasons is different time. 60s still was the new time for technology, people didn’t really know how to use it and what to do with it. All that was kind of new for everyone. Time goes and technology was developing. That gives people the opportunity to lean and see more about technology.

Another reason can be the way people leaved. People that time did stuff differently and they were scared towards any new things. With time people became more flexible and they were open toward changes. In 90s people knew enough about technology like computers, phones and ect. They figured pluses of having it.

Now we cannot emotion our lives without technology. Everything we do and everywhere we go we surrounded ourselves with technology. Technology makes our life easier. It helps us in all kind of ways.

 

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% Yesenia Williams completed

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.

 

 

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% Natasha Wong completed

Taylor’s argument that we “grant agency to tools while side stepping the thorny issue of the larger social structures in which we and technologies are embedded” is her attempt to address the fact that we allow technology to take over our daily lives so much so, that we fail to recognize the impact it has on the social structures. For example, it is free to participate in social media sites, however, it is the people and corporations who own these sites that benefit from our online interactions with one another. Their success depends solely on our obsession with sharing personal details about our lives such as where we have been, what we are eating, and what we think.

Taylor attempts to address an issue that is not often thought about as we engage in these social media sites on a daily basis, she brings to light that we are simply working (for free) which results in the powerful remaining powerful. While some people believe that technological advancements have leveled the playing field because people can achieve success without the use of the middle man, for example, self-publishing authors and artists, they discount the fact that the bigger corporations are still able to pay to have their products and services pushed online, in a way that small start-up companies or individuals would never be able to afford. Additionally, those in professions such as photography may be able to push their work on social sites and create an online presence without the use of an agent, however, the social network site owners are still the ones profiting handsomely from every image that is uploaded, and aside from profit, they become the owners of these images once you hit the send. Taylor shows that technology helps maintain the status quo.

Regards,

Natasha Wong