At the International Social Theory Consortium 2018 Conference at Loyola Chicago, I presented a paper entitled “Platform and Estranged Labor— Social Capital-ists, Influencers, and Digitally Mediated Communities.”
Abstract: Digitally-mediated communities have the power to create vast networks of individuals who, though sometimes sharing only marginal similarities and interests, are able to connect and crystalize their experiences together in a shared medium. However, these communities are often under the banner of an influencer or platform builder, from which the community or platform takes its cues. Further, both the platform builder and those who make up the platform are subject to estrangement by nature of the production of digitally mediated communities. Engagement, leading to the increase of user data information and available advertising space, allows for the crystallization of platforms around social capital-ism and causes platform members to become unpaid laborers for systems that exist to commodify users as means, apart from their original intended usage and apart from their identities.