In “Chapter 4: Capital, Class and Consumer Culture”, Lury puts forth “. . . that contemporary forms of production are coming to involve all aspects of social life, including communication, knowledge and affect”. By this, she means that in a post-Fordist consumer culture, the production of commodities (and therefore meaning and culture) and the construction of social life are intimately interrelated processes (102). Under this perspective, producers create worlds for commodities, manifested as virtual and real spaces, which become a part of everyday life. Lury writes, “consumption consists not in buying or destroying a service or product. . . but means. . . belonging to a world” (qtd. in Lazzarato 96). In other words, consumption goes beyond the traditional meaning of using up a commodity to also mean engaging with the world it comes from and forming identities based on what is consumed. Another consequence of post-Fordism on consumer culture is that “. . . work processes [shift] from the factory to society. . .” (qtd. in Terranova 74). In other words, “. . . companies put consumers to work”, and as consumers become laborers and participate in production processes, the line between labor/life and production/consumption becomes blurred (qtd. in Tapscott and Williams). These ideas are echoed in Anthony’s post, “A Consumer’s Playground”, which looks into how shoppers, in the context of shopping-game shows set in grocery stores and malls (such as Supermarket Sweep and Shop ‘Til You Drop respectively) and nationally recognized days of consumption like Black Friday, not only purchase and consume but also produce by using the spaces to construct meanings such as competition, fantasy, adventure, and exploration. Taking into consideration Terranova’s argument, I would also add that in these instances, companies take advantage of consumers in society by putting those selected as contestants to work. The producers of these grocery store and mall shopping-game shows manipulate consumer contestants to behave in certain ways; while the consumers purchase, they also labor to produce show content for the producers and ultimately viewership (i.e. monetary profit) for the network. In the case of Black Friday, the consumers perform labor in the sense that they wait in long lines in front of stores and often generate media buzz for the companies such as through news reports and online social-networking sites, thus indirectly promoting those companies.

This made me think of Facebook as a very relevant example to these claims presented in “Chapter 4”. Facebook is a company that provides an online social networking service, but to the majority of its billion plus users, it is an online, virtual world that is a huge part of everyday life. Facebook users/consumers belong to the ongoing Facebook world by engaging with it and using it as one platform for identity formation. Minji’s description of how she engages with Facebook speaks for most Facebookers: “ I use Facebook most often as a means for all communications: private messages, recent photos, status updates about my life, posts of what I find interesting at the time, links to the other social platforms I use, etc.”. I agree with Minji in how Facebookers “. . . build a representation of who they are through pictures, statuses, link posts and comments”, which supports the idea that the virtual world of Facebook, which often passes as reality, is one in which Facebook consumer’s identities are carefully constructed. Further, it is no secret that Facebook puts its users to work (hopefully this does not come as a news break to the reader that Facebook does not exist purely for connecting people socially, as it may appear). Not only do Facebookers work to create their Facebook identities, but they also (unconsciously) work to gather user data for Facebook, which then sells this personal and valuable data to advertising companies. Every “like” we click (whether on Facebook or on other websites with the plugin), movie we add under our “interests”, check-in we make to a location, and any other data that we send to Facebook impacts which ads marketers and advertisers put in our news feeds and sidebars (which sometimes uncannily relate to us). To Facebookers, this exploitive practice does not feel like labor because they feel their engagement with Facebook is simply “a means of socialization”. It is clear that in the case of Facebooking, there is no clear line between labor/life and production/consumption. Users who consume Facebook to socialize and use it as a space for identity formation are also simultaneously laborers or producers for the Facebook company – they are Facebook prosumers. Lastly, Terranova argues “. . . that many online services are based on the continuous contributions of users or consumers. . .” and  “. . . social media channels. . . [remain] valueless unless [they] are filled with ‘life’” (qtd. in Terranova 93-4). That is to say, in social media channels like Facebook, users continuously add ‘life’ or value to the platform through ‘free labor’, which impacts or transforms the commodity. As Facebookers continue to engage with the Facebook world, more and more detailed personal and usage information is collected by Facebook. The Facebook company reaps the benefits of its free laborers through the value they create: it frequently improves its website to collect increasingly sophisticated user data more efficiently and sells this valuable information to advertisers and marketers who then target users with increasingly relevant ads. Through the value that Facebook free laborers/prosumers create, Facebook makes huge profits.

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