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January 02, 2007

[iDC] The wrong kind of youth and distributed capitalism


We need an ethics of participation!

"...We need an ethics of participation! That's part of participation literacy. Do I let myself being taken advantage of by those who pull the strings behind sociable environments? "Why would I not help out Amazon.com by writing book reviews for them (?), they sold great books to me." I heard this puzzling logic from a young student. I paid and therefore, in return, I give my labor away for free. (It's of course more complex than that as arguably these reviews serve the public as well.) Another example:

In mid-December at the LeWeb 3 conference in Paris a disconcerting project was launched: YAADZ. To the realm of viral video and guerrilla marketing you can now add this site that offers "video advertisement by the people who watch them." YOU AD[Z]. Somebody who loves Reebok shoes can now create their own video ad and upload it too. And it's free. They don't even have to pay for giving their immaterial labor away for free. http://www.yaadz.com

Critical participation literacy will make kids aware that projects like this exemplify the self-exploiting hell of distributed capitalism. (Many of them lack totally this criticality.) They have no hesitation to "outsource" their photo memories to Yahoo (Flickr) or to leave all their daily life traces with Rupert Murdoch (MySpace). The ethics of participation need to be taught.

In a recent survey that I conducted, a participant (age 18) stated that she wears MySpace and YouTube like clothes. "They are an extension of my identity," she said. If social networking sites are an expression of identity, then we need to teach a critical awareness of the environments in which kids hang out online. Students may be aware that it is uncool to wear Abercrombie & Fitch but they don't hesitate to trust MySpace with their life. (Abercrombie & Fitch was accused of discrimination against minority employees-- 2004 lawsuit Gonzalez v. Abercrombie & Fitch)..." From [iDC] The wrong kind of youth and distributed capitalism, Trebor Scholz

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Posted by jo at January 2, 2007 05:20 PM