Working with/in new media


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Crowdsourcing, cloudworking, and other new media labour trends: how technological shifts are disrupting commonsense notions of work and labour, particularly in the media industry.

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Working with/in new media

  1. 1. GETTING AHEAD: WORKING WITH/IN NEW MEDIA KCB201 Week 8 lecture | Lecturer: Rosanna Ryan
  2. 2. Once upon a time... 90s hype: new media as utopian space... empowering, overthrowing tyrants, basis for creation of a new civilisation “We will create a civilisation of the Mind in Cyberspace. May it be more humane and fair than the world your governments have made before.” (Barlow, J.P. (1996). A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace) internet nurtured many forms of conscious volunteerism that took advantage of ‘wisdom of crowds’/‘collective intelligence’: Wikipedia, citizen blogosphere taking on the mainstream media, free open source software movements but is this the full story of new media labour in 2010?
  3. 3. Crowdsourcing and cloud labour “minds for sale” to perform tasks that are virtual, fungible and scalable tapping serious and rare smarts (e.g. Innocentive) paying less and requiring less brains (e.g. LiveOps) getting mindless tasks done, artificial artificial intelligence (e.g. Mechanical Turk)
  4. 4. ESP game
  5. 5. Crowdsourcing news
  6. 6. Digital sweatshops libertarian dream: employers no longer need to pay minimum wage, offer permanent contracts, abide by child labour laws do you know/approve of who you’re working for? are there disadvantages for the client/consumer/public?
  7. 7. The people formerly known as the employers Jay Rosen (2006, The People Formerly Known as the Audience) celebrates the collapse of some notions of professional journalism: “Once they were your printing presses; now that humble device, the blog, has given the press to us.” Mark Deuze suggests a side-effect is sapping of economic and cultural power away from professional journalists “workers compete for (projectized, one-off, per-story) jobs rather than employers compete for (the best, brightest, most talented) employees” dystopic vision: without professional journalists, solipism and paranoia?
  8. 8. ‘Why pay if you can get it free?’ Devalued content Amateurs use new media to donate photos and videos, and provide instant opinion and analysis. Does that mean no skills are involved in these tasks? Does that mean journalists will do the same without being trained? Terry Clark, user submitted to ABC News Online Without being paid extra?
  9. 9. Technobohemians or the new Cybertariat? ‘New media does not have a tradition like other art forms have and that is why it is open to a lot of people to develop it. It’s still not finished’ (Hilda, female, 40s). ‘It involves a lot of learning in my own time. But I regard this as my job because I disagree with the concept of “hobbies”.’ (Richard, male, 30s). ‘In general there are probably more men than women working in new media. The editorial jobs are often occupied by women, sometimes more than men. I don’t see many older people, perhaps because they didn’t grow up with the kind of technology we’re used to.’ (Bas, male, 30s).
  10. 10. ‘There’s a new balance of power...’ lots of people online who see things the way Jay Rosen does level playing field and invitation to comment/engage means your critics are as loud as you are community will struggle against efforts to rein them in journalists still coming to terms with instant, public feedback
  11. 11. REFERENCES • Barlow, J. P. (1996). A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace. http:// (accessed April 10, 2010). • Deuze, M. (2009). The people formerly known as the Employers. Journalism, Vol. 10, issue 3, pp. 315-318. • Gill, R. (2007). Informality is the New Black. In Technobohemians or the new Cybertariat? New Media work in Amsterdam a decade after the web. Amsterdam: Institute of Network Cultures: 24-30 & 38-43. • Rosen, J. (2006). The people formerly known as the audience. pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2006/06/27/ppl_frmr.html (accessed April 10, 2010). • Zittrain, J. (2009). Minds for Sale (lecture, 1 hr 16mins). 16 November.