Thursday, April 22, 2010

Friday 11 am Session Blog Post

The formation of free labor, according to Tiziana Terranova, is the result of the digital economy in a macroeconomic sense. For individuals, their laboring is sometimes voluntary, but not willing. They understand that “the free stuff offered around the net” is “either a product that gets you hooked on to another one or makes you just consume more time on the net. After all, the goal of the access people and telecoms is to have users spend as much time on thoe net as possible, regardless of what they are doing” (50). A lot of my friends who claim to be “addicted” to Facebook, among whom a lot are aware of the commercial mechanism of the website and of the nature of their addiction, somehow can’t help spending hours on their addiction, or labor, of roaming on Facebook everyday. When we think about what happens when people do that, Csíkszentmihályi’s concept of flow seems to fit into the picture. In the users’ long-time vision, they don’t want to spend that much of time on Facebook; but they cannot not want, because they are subject to be immersed in the flow of exploring the random stuff online. Their situation of “escaping, but never leaving” is due to the capturing nature of the labor, which utilizes their addiction, more than self-fulfillment. This form of voluntary but unwilling labor exemplifies the convergence of leisure and labor in new media economy in a different aspect, with the individuals being the subject of this convergence, rather than active practitioners.

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