Trebor Scholz on the Web 2.0 Exploitation of Free Labour

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What the Myspace generation should know about working for free



As part of his project of a social critique of what is widely called Web 2.0, Trebor Scholz will introduce the paradox of affective labor. Content generated by networked publics was the main reason for the fact that the top ten websites accounted for forty percent of all Internet traffic in 2006. Community creates massive market value and has become the foremost commodity. Profiting from the labor of the very many, the very few get richer and richer. Networked publics contributing to the main social networking sites, however, also gain much in the process! Don't forget about the pleasure of creation, knowledge exchange, fame, a "home," friendships, and dates. Contributors to the sociable web comment, tag, rank, forward, read, subscribe, re-post, link, moderate, remix, share, and collaborate, favorite, and write. They flirt, work, play, chat, gossip, discuss, learn and by doing so they share life experiences and archive memories. At the same time, the platform-providing businesses monetize their attention, time, and uploaded content. Scholz will question this naturalized "factory without walls" and demand full transparency of the rules of social networking sites as they relate to ownership, privacy, and the relationship between cost and profit. (