Social media has changed the way we process and record the human experience
The selfie culture
What if your social media posting and liking, instead of being for fun, was your job? Or rather, what if you realized that it was work and you just weren’t getting paid for it?
During the week of April 6 to 13, Twitter was taken over by an organization calling themselves International Web & FaceTwit Workers.
Some workers were all for the campaign
Others took this opportunity to express their dissatisfaction
Nighthawks, an online watering hole for webworkers, became the site of the union solidarity movement.
But the union workers were determined to start a social (media) revolution
There was even a waffle maker for the web, pushing out #### daily.
Wait, where was I?
The entire campaign is a NetProv project. Yes, it was fictional!
Who is NetProv?
NetProv (networked improv narrative) is an emerging art form that creates written stories that are networked, collaborative and improvised in real time. It is transmedia, collaborative and improvised (or partially so) in real time.
Co-founders, authors and improv extraordinaires Mark Marino and Rob Wittig in Hyperrhiz stated that "Netprov draws upon the fields of theatrical performance as well as game studies and electronic literature, combining aesthetic values from each: dramatic interaction, goal seeking and play, and rich signification through words and symbols."
In Dichtung-Digital, a journal of art and culture in digital media, the authors describe Networked Improv Narrative "as a genre of electronic literature predicated on establishing contexts for online synchronous and asynchronous writing."
What's the meaning of all this?
The I Work for the Web reflects on all the unpaid work we do for the Internet and the ways in which that labor is capitalized on, through advertising and other means, by the companies providing us with all those free networking opportunities.
The rest of this Buzzfeed listicle will discuss exactly how we work for the web, and what this means for us.
So, how does Facebook make money?
What about Twitter?!
To encourage companies to make sure their targeted ads still look and act like regular tweets, Twitter says it will reward Promoted Tweets that resonate the most with users — those ads “are likely to appear more often.”
This is a concept known as "native advertising."
Buzzfeed also partakes in native advertising
Let's take a pause and go back in time.
What's a happening?
In his book Assemblage, Environments, and Happenings, published in 1966, Allan Kaprow offered a base reference on the notion of performance.
"Blurring the limits between art and life, he continues his creative enterprise by developing happenings which will act as reports of the progress of his research and his desire to escape from the systematic pigeonholing in visual arts. In 1967, he presented Fluids, followed by Transfer in 1968."
"With these two performances, Kaprow led groups of volunteers to perform construction tasks which looked pretty pointless: building a structure of ice under the sun, or moving empty barrels from their storing place. But the purpose of these happenings was to isolate the experience while engaging the attention and the energy of its participants. Kaprow drew a certain poetry from daily life, something that no material will ever be able to capture." (Frikach, 2012)
NetProv's #IWFW can be likened to the "happenings"
Speaking of Google Docs..
Wait, does this mean they may or may not use a Public document for marketing or promotional campaigns?
So we now know that basically everything we do on social media contributes in one way or another to native advertising.
Selfies, Instagram filters, carefully constructed status updates. Are these not improvs?
Whether you admit it or not, we are all suckers for validation on social media
Wait, does this mean that our social media use is a "happening"?
Perhaps, but here's the bigger picture.
NetProv used the very medium (social media) it was critiquing to carry out #IWFW. Their thesis is that social media corporations make money off our use of these platforms in various ways, especially through native advertising.