The increasingly blurred distinction between online play and labor.
The story of a Toronto Transit Commission ticket-taker caught napping on the job inspired Canadian writer Ryan Bigge to pen an article exploring the changing nature of work:
Meanwhile, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr are pulverizing the final distinctions between work and play. As Rob Horning noted on his blogMarginal Utility last month, “social networks are harvesting and reselling the details of our cultural cry of self, conveniently translated already by our volunteer labor into terms of brands and trademarks already on the market.”
This process even has a cute neologism – playbor, which was the focus of “The Internet as Playground and Factory,” a recent academic conference in New York. “Social participation is the oil of the digital economy,” explained organizer Trebor Scholz on the conference website. “It has become increasingly difficult to distinguish between play, consumption and production, life and work, labor and non-labor.”
Writing recently in Wikinomics, Naumi Haque contributed some examples:
The simple idea driving the playbor discussion: What happens when we collapse the often conflicting interests of work, personal ambitions, and entertainment into a single activity?