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Week Seven: Facebook

by on September 4, 2012

Hi everyone,

This is Natasha Amanatidis  (tashamana) , Keiran Dole (KM3004) and  Cassi Pashalidis (cassyeah) and this is our presentation on the one and only, Facebook.

This is a video to get our presentation started.

How Facebook changed the world

Last year in Cairo, Egypt and Tunisia there was an uprising, that could only be as successful as it was because of the use of Social Media, and in particular Facebook were these people were able to upload videos and photos instantly and give breaking news to the entire world.

How did this happen?

There was a local fruit and vegetable seller in Tunisia, who was so angry with the government, and how he was treated, that he lit himself on fire. It was this action which sparked those of activists. Access was blocked to access to political sites in Tunisia, but they did nothing to Facebook thinking no one would take what was on it seriously. 1 in in 5 or 2 million people had Facebook, so activists were able to speak out to large groups of people and get them to help protest, something that had never been done in Tunisia before. Everyone took their phones and took photos from the protest, publishing them on Facebook for their friends and the world to see.

It was through this, that they were able to spread the word to Egypt and start the protests there too. In Egypt, Facebook had 5 million users and 40,000 Egyptians turned up to protest.  Their anger was sparked by a young computer programmer beaten up. Facebook page was erected in honour of this person and sparked the revolution. People in other countries watched from their laptops and saw the fall of the regime that had been in place for 24 years but took just 28 days to fall. It was through social media, that the overthrow of this government was possible.

Some interesting facts about Facebook:

  • There are now 500 million users and counting worldwide, making it the second most popular website, behind only Google
  • Facebook users log on an average 60 minutes each day
  • In 2011 its market value was pegged at almost $83 billion
  • Psychologists have introduced a disease called FAD (Facebook Addiction Disorder) and I guess everybody is suffering from that

What is Facebook?

For connecting more than half a billion people and mapping the social relations among them, for creating a new system of exchanging information and for changing how we live our lives, Mark Elliot Zuckerberg  was TIME’s 2010 Person of the Year.

  • Within 24 hours of launching ‘The Facebook’ in 2004, 1200 people had joined
  • By the end of its first year, there were over 64 million active users
  • 200 million users accesses Facebook via mobile phone
  • In total users are on site more than 700 billion minutes each month
  • In just 20 minutes on Facebook over one million links are shared, two million friend requests are accepted and almost three million messages are sent

It is interesting to note that an average of 48% of youth who use the site in the US now reports receiving their news from Facebook on a daily basis.

Relate this fact to your own life. Do you really need to watch the weather channel anymore? Or does everyone on Facebook let you know what’s happening outside? Football or AFL, want to know who won a game… Check Facebook.  What information do you receive from logging in Facebook?

What makes Facebook different to Myspace? They are similar in terms its explosion of networked relations and that they both represent a place where one can ‘hang’ with their friends but;

What is it about Facebook that sets it apart from this social network site?
What do you perceive as a main different between the two?


Facebook offers users “THE NEWSFEED” marking a quantum leap forward in social networking.

Facebook allows users to become immediately recognised and socially valorised by both the user, who updates his or her profile, and by ‘friends’ who ‘like’ what they have read on the ‘newsfeed’ and who may choose to comment or share a link. In this sense, identities can be formed and reproduced via the immediate feedback loops that get attached to every update, every link, or every photo that gets uploaded to someone’s profile.


One of the main points in this article is the idea that social networks, like Facebook, are paradigmatic of an emergent form of immaterial labour 

The article narrows in, in particular their own concept, which they call immaterial labour 2.0, which is a more accelerated, intensified version of the proposed definition from Lazzarato.  The interest in social network is in the cultural and social component of labour – where users enthusiastically respond in the affirmative to the call: ‘become subjects!’

Some examples of Immaterial Labour 2.0 are;
– Posting Updates
– Tagging Photos
– Leaving Comments
– Clicking the ‘like’ Button
& Sharing Links

This article has two main aims:

v  To build upon and expand the concept of immaterial labour so that it can account for the modulations and variations present within networked formations like Facebook

v  To demonstrate that youth and adults are learning techniques and practices which are necessary for the transformation and continued growth of capitalist relations


Bio power: Theorizing the ‘Digital Body’

The second key point which the article suggests is the idea that the organisation form of social networks is also expressive of Bio Power.

In order to do this, the writers take reference to Michel Foucault and his ideas about disciplinary power and bio power. Each of these despositifs of power are dependent upon a specific deployment of bodies.



Disciplinary power Bio Power
Fixes relations between individuals and various institutions Uses its population like a machine for production, for the production of wealth, goods and other individuals
Power is exercised over those individual bodies in order to attain capacities and aptitudes more adequate to the different and changing needs of the social body Power is exercised in the direction of economic processes and manages people as a group, rather than the conduct of the individual
Surveillance of the individual, controlling his conduct, behaviour, aptitudes, performance, and placing him where he will be most useful Less onerous and more flexible

Disciplinary power would be an inaccurate way to measure our ever increasing and interconnected society. An emergent capital had the urgent need for a new dispositif of power. As Foucault states:

‘The mesh of the internet is too large, almost an infinite number of things, elements conducts, and processes would escape the control of such power’

A million dollars isn’t cool clip

This famous line was uttered by Sean Parker, beyond its political economic prophecy for Facebook, indicating the scope of bio power, so effectively manifested in social networks.

With the number of bodies trending to Facebook – 500 million and counting – is it just part of what makes it such an exemplary bio political network.

3 Key arguments from Cote & Pybus

Learning the Immaterial Labour and Develop Affective Capacity
Sees social media usage as ‘work’, all users are like bee’s communication back and forth to build the hive or take the honey. Reward for all this ‘work’ is notoriety, however that user can choose their own notorious image. Whether us ignorant Social media users like it or not, we are participating in an implicit worldly process and the many different organisations are taking note.

From the Audience Commodity to Immaterial Labour
“Social networks like Facebook are not just new forms of communication but an increasingly important part of media in general” (Pybus & Cote, 2011)

Convergence of media sources/outlets/inputs/organisations meaning audience is a player, not just a consumer in the communication game. Life blends into work, work blends into play, play blends into your online life. Immaterial Labour is reason why we have communication past simple 1-way stuff like TV.

The Digital Archive of the Self, of Feeling and of Profit
acebook’s profit is determined by your willingness to be involved. The self takes on a different form whereas you physically stay in the same spot. Your digital archive of the self is fuelled by your sharing of lived experiences (what you have done). This archive of ever changing profile forms a new social and economic relationship. This information, previously stored as memory is now always adjusted and target by organisations.

Is Facebook selling our personal/user information/activity to 3rd party companies? Should the government regulate such behaviour?

Would this be detrimental to the free-speech media immaterial labour process??


From → Uncategorized

  1. Hey guys,
    Well done with the presentation, a bit confusing at the start with all the info presented but the interactive questions we’re presented well. I enjoyed the discussion.
    Chantelle 3745371 @chachatomlinson

  2. Just went to fb to check what the weather was then immediately remembered you’re presentation! Amazing how much people actually rely on fb for first hand news! It’s just so immediate but the quality of info can be all over the place.
    Georgia Charleston 3843252

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