Wednesday, April 21, 2010

BLog10--Matt's Section Fri 11am

Because I brought up the Terranova piece in an earlier blog post, I want to address that reading this week. To me, it is one of the most applicable readings that we cover in the class. It is also, just as Qian mentioned a few posts down from me, a terrifying notion. Within the notions of freedom and control, Terranova’s ideas truly shed a new light on the twisted control that is present on the web. I definitely feel freer on the web than I do in the real world: I can say whatever I want behind a veil of anonymity via sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace. I can peruse through peoples’ belongings in unprecedented ways via sites such as eBay and Craigslist. However, my participation in these sites leads to my overall control under the auspices of the web, according to Terranova. All of these sites clearly fit into her idea of free labor—none of them could work if people were not constantly updating and adding digital material to the sites.
I want to take eBay as a perfect example of Terranova’s ideas. eBay is quite possibly one of the largest market sites on the web. Its big rival is most likely Amazon, but their difference is remarkable. Amazon is a company: it runs by selling books from its own warehouses, but eBay runs person-to-person, with people selling their belongings to one another. This website would be completely defunct if it did not have the many users it has today. It is as if we are all working for the website. How paradoxical is this though? Because this website is used as a convenience, something that people can easily get rid of old things with and make a few dollars on the side with, eBay is not thought of as controlling. Thus, the freedom and control that the web gives us is interestingly intertwined. In section this week I think it would be interesting to think about this intertwinement. Most of all, does the web give us more freedom or more control?

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