The Internet as Playground and Factory: A Conference on Digital Labor

When I edited a special volume of First Monday on “Critical Perspectives of Web 2.0” I was lucky to have included a contribution by Trebor Scholz, which made an already good collection of papers even better. Scholz’s article, “Market Ideology and the Myths of Web 2.0“, argued that the very notion of “Web 2.0” represents not a unique socio–technological advance in the World Wide Web, but rather a powerful “framing device of professional elites that define what enters the public discourse about the impact of the Web on society,” resulting in our acquiescence to a market ideology of crowdsourcing, the exploitation of immaterial free labor, and the “harvesting of the fruits of networked social production.”

Scholz’s framing of Web 2.0 as a site for exploitative digital labor is very compelling, and has become the topic for a conference on “The Internet as Playground and Factory“, hosted by Scholz from November 12-14 2009 at The New School in NYC. The list of participants is one of the most impressive I’ve come across, and I regret I will not be able to attend and contribute to this important interrogation of Web 2.0.

The Internet as Playground and Factory – Register Now from Voices from The Internet as Play on Vimeo.

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