Liquid Labor

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You have all probably heard it before, the world is changing. We know the world changes, it always has, it always will, but do we realise just how rapidly? The 1950’s saw the first widespread usage of television, the 1960’s saw the development of color tv and putting man on the moon, by the 1980’s we had created global tv channels, the fax machine, the mobile phone and the computer. All the name of connectivity. It’s human to be connected, you’re antisocial if you aren’t. But now, you can be physically introverted and yet virtually extroverted.

Our ability to connect is one of man’s greatest achievements, with our capabilities only growing and developing year after year. If it is not our hardware (ie Ipad), then our software (ios) or our connectivity (NBN, broadband) that is transforming year after year.

What took 3 days to deliver mail from postbox to postman to letterbox; now it takes 30 seconds from keyboard to server to inbox. We have gone from industrial labour, physical labour that built cities and industries, to the virtual, digital age of liquid labor. The laptop I am typing this on, was once this-

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And gigabytes, megabytes and terabytes, used to be looking a bit more like this-

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No more mainframes or central points (besides Facebook), decentralized, distributive information flow is the now and future.

Today we live in the age of internet, and as Mark Deuze states in his work, Liquid Life, Convergence Culture, and Media Work-

The most succesful businesses on the internet- like eBay, Yahoo, Google and Amazon- share one fundamental characteristic: the product these companies deliver is connectivity. 

Connection. That is what we need, what we live off as human beings. Why wait for the weekend to drive down to Bunnings for a power-drill when Amazon can have one to your doorstep for often a lower price with less hassle? Or, why go out of your way to the library or bookshop for information you need when it is a click away with Google? However, as argued by Jeremy Rifkin, Even though we seem to spend more time accessing products and services in this information age, and technologies assist and cooperate with human labour, this does not mean we are spending less time working.

It is rather simple though- Liquid Labor is the new, the now and the tomorrow. As Deuze goes on-

…bring people together to trade, communicate, interact and exchange knowledge, information, goods and services. 

The reason we call it “liquid” is because the information & date freely flow from connection to connection, point to point. It is part of this decentralised world we are in. Cyberlibertarianism, Google and Network Societies all congregate to form this liquid labor world. It triggers our global nervous system, a 24/7 connection across the globe, to be the powerhouse it is, as our species transitions from the industrial revolution into the cyber revolution. Information wants to be free, it wants to be accessed without hassle, with no mainframe and with little restriction.

And with that, it is time to end this weeks blog post.

Stay Classy UOW,

Todd.

References.

Mitew, T 2014, Liquid labour, lecture, DIGC202, Global Networks, University of Wollongong, delivered 18 August.

Jeremy Rifkin (2004), The end of work, 2nd edition. New York: Tarcher/Penguin.

Mark Deuze (2006), Liquid Life, Convergence Culture, and Media Work, Indiana University, accessed via moodle 18th August 2015.

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3 comments

  1. “You can be physically introverted and yet virtually extroverted” is so relevant and prevalent especially when subject blogging!

    You’ve almost combined all weeks of lectures and readings into one concise blog post, well done my friend!

    “Information wants to be free, it wants to be accessed without hassle, with no mainframe and with little restriction.” is certainly the attitudes of a cyberlibertarian. They aim to eliminate a centralised and governed online arena and instead promote a decentralised network dethroning authorities. Examples such as open sourced software compared to Richard Stallman’s free software approach putting the freedom in the hands of the users.

  2. Hey Todd,
    To begin, I felt you did a solid job with effectively relating a humours meme to the topic. After reading through your blog, I have further increased my understanding of Liquid labour, especially through the fact that you have used multiple real time examples to express the content. The additional sources you have used efficiently support your discussion. If I was to make a suggestion, it might be that your blog may be a bit too heavily content based. Great work.

  3. I love the comment that “you can be physically introverted and yet virtually extroverted”, and I think that you’ve touched on a really important point about our digital age interactions. Is our online socialisation the beginning of our downfall in face to face communication skills? I know that in many circumstances I’d much rather remove the human contact side of things like when shopping or ordering some food. I’d love to hear your take on how we as a society are progressing in the cyber landscape, and whether we’re losing touch with each other while still being so well connected. Stay Classy Todd.

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