Posts Tagged ‘labor’
Society - Written Thursday, February 25, 2010 by Naumi Haque - 4 Comments
People are busy and increasingly pulled in many directions: working, raising a family, maintaining a home, pursuing personal ambitions, and socializing with friends are all conflicting interests vying for an individual’s time. One of the major issues that arise when we talk about collaboration is individual attention, engagement, and time. We use terms like ‘collaborative capacity’ and ‘cognitive surplus’ to describe the amount of time and mental energy available for collaborative tasks. In both cases, these are viewed as scarce resources.
When we study prosumers, one of the reoccurring themes is how to create incentives to get people to contribute their valuable time to an initiative. Increasingly, consumers are challenging the notion that the Internet is recruiting ground for free labor that will willingly engage with your brand, contribute ideas, and co-innovate with you—consumers want some sort of value in exchange for their time. Contrary to what is being proclaimed in popular social media echo chambers, most consumers actually don’t want to co-create with companies; the vast majority of Internet users are happy to be passive consumers and observers, with only a small fraction opting for prosumerism.
This brings be to the main point of this blog post, which is the notion of playbor. I first came across the term—a combination of ‘play’ and ‘labor’—on the Web site for a conference on digital labor hosted by The New School in New York. The Internet as Playground and Factory notes that, “Today, communication is a mode of social production facilitated by new capitalist imperatives and it has become increasingly difficult to distinguish between play, consumption and production, life and work, labor and non-labor.” The simple idea driving the playbor discussion: What happens when we collapse the often conflicting interests of work, personal ambitions, and entertainment into a single activity?