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1 Simple Way You Work For The Web

Just another Buzzfeed listicle.

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Social media has changed the way we process and record the human experience


The pedagogy of humanities, described by Stanford University is the study of how people process and document the human experience.

"The humanities teaches us to think critically, understand history and to be able to understand who we are in the present moment as humans,” Jessica Pressman, professor at San Diego State University said.

The humanities have never been more important than they are now because the 'now' is all about newness and upgrade culture, the self, selfies and so on.

The selfie culture


"It is not a new phenomenon for people to use photographs to document experiences or events. As a way to connect, selfies are often used to share important experiences and to express feelings at a particular time. These expressive images can immediately be shared with social circles via social media."

A selfie can be more intimate than a staged photograph because it captures a moment in time. Many adolescents are trying to develop their sense of identity, experimenting with different looks and experiences, and deciding how they feel while sharing with their social circle.

Selfies can be an important part of development within the digital age.

(Holly Peek, 2014)

During the week of April 6 to 13, Twitter was taken over by an organization calling themselves International Web & FaceTwit Workers.

I Work for the Web is designed to dream what it would be like if all our Web PLAY could be our work! Join in! #iwfw

Users of the world wide web were encouraged by RockeHearst Omnipresent Bundlers to share their stories on how great it is to work for the web. The campaign was promoted on the @iworkfortheweb Twitter account.

It led to the IWFW (International Web & FaceTwit Workers) movement, rising to demand payment for that unpaid labor. #IWFW became the hashtag for complaining about all the work done on the Internet for free.

So many web workers #IWFW

Some workers were all for the campaign

All this complaining from webworkers...just try to imagine your life without it...Yea u cant! #iwfw and I'm proud!

Cheers to all the unsung heroes of the web who put in hours & hours to make it a seamless, convenient place to work &/or mess around #iwfw

@SebastNoble Thank you Mr. Nobles! Would you also be kind enough to put in a good word for me with my boss? :) #iwfw

Others took this opportunity to express their dissatisfaction

I refuse to play this tweeting game any longer! NO MORE FIVE TWEETS A DAY! DOWN WITH THE INDUSTRY! #stressed #iwfw #5tweetsaday #unionize

walking away... Cant take this anymore. #workneverends #sadlife #quitting #iwfw

Who needs sunlight when you've got the glow of your laptop? #iwfw

I'm mad as hell and ain't gonna take it anymore, UNIONIZE! #IWFW @IntlWebworkers

We should replace national holidays with facebook ones. #SiblingsDay #iwfw

Nighthawks, an online watering hole for webworkers, became the site of the union solidarity movement.

I'm a lil afeared of going to Hawks after last week. My shoe shining hand is still feel so sore. What if they take out my Tweeter? #iwfw

"And then, something happens the night of April 4th at Nighthawks. Accounts vary, but it was bad. Real bad. Something like the Stonewall Riots or the Sleepy Lagoon Murder. The union busters were there. The organizers were there."

But the union workers were determined to start a social (media) revolution

Rally at Nighthawks for the start of the voting! Show bOsswebb our strength in numbers! Thumbs in the air! #iwfw voting begins in 40min

The waffling women are coming over to our side!!! #IWFW

Having more followers could mean you have more responsibility to choose what to post #IWFW

There was even a waffle maker for the web, pushing out #### daily.

A #waffle a day keeps the web boss away #iwfw #iwafflefw

The entire campaign is a NetProv project. Yes, it was fictional!

Via Twitter: @tycoonthropist

It was a project surrounding fictional events, including a fictional character, Andrew RockeHearst, who is meant to represent social media corporations today.

The "workers" of the web are every day social media users, like you and I, who were tweeting their different daily experiences on how they "work for the web."

Participants could take this Buzzfeed Quiz to find out what job they had in the project.

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?

View this video on YouTube

BIGfish president David Gerzof Richard explains how Facebook uses your personal information to make money.

“To be clear, Facebook is not selling this information to marketers," Richard said. "What they’re doing is leveraging that information and selling a service to marketers so that they can turn around and serve us ads based on what we’re interested in and looking at."

What about Twitter?!


We already know Twitter has promoted tweets on our timeline.

According to, "Advertisers can now create specific ads and target certain groups of users without first having to publish a tweet to all followers. It sounds like a subtle difference, but it’s a fundamental change in how advertisers can reach consumers on Twitter."

"Almost all of Twitter's revenue - about 85% of it - comes from advertising on its site." - BBC News

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."

You are more likely to survive a plane crash than to click on a banner. But is native advertising really the solution? #FOMG15

Native advertising is a form of online advertising that matches the form and function of the platform on which it appears. For example, an article written by an advertiser to promote their product, but using the same form as an article written by the editorial staff.

Buzzfeed also partakes in native advertising


Usually known to use "clickbait" headline, such as "10 Different Ways to Enjoy Grilled Cheese", some of these listicles are promoted, or even written by the companies that pay for them.

What's a happening?

Allan Kaprow first coined the term "happening" in 1957. By definition, "happenings" are non-linear, require active participation of the audience and are based on improvisations.

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"

In using Twitter, Google Docs, Facebook group, and Buzzfeed quiz, NetProv, just like the happenings, is using real time and real space to provide commentary on social media corporations using us for free labor.

Speaking of Google Docs..

Google's Terms of Service states, in short, what belongs to you stays yours.

We will not change a Private document into a Public one;
We will not use a Private document for marketing or promotional campaigns;
We will keep your data only as long as you ask us to keep it.

Selfies, Instagram filters, carefully constructed status updates. Are these not improvs?


We take in what is happening around us, improvise (make it into a status, like a page, post on snapchat, instagram, tweet it)

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.

This comes full circle to how we use social media as a way to record the "happenings" in our reality.

So what?

NetProv's project #IWFW is an adaptation of a Happening in the digital age, providing discourse on social media corporations through the use of real time and real people to extend the plot. On the other hand, where social media is used to record the human experience, the corporations that own them have used this as "free labor" through native advertising. Our own use of social media is a less-functional adaptation of a Happening, seemingly pointless, but nonetheless contributes to a conversation on capitalism and free labor.

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