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‘New/Now’: The political economy of blogging

February 7, 2010

[jan18-033.jpg]It’s a bit of a tired cliché, but one given of the ‘free’ (not commercially driven, for example) virtual life is that when online activity slows down, offline (consider the on/off implications here!) is wheeling and productive. Nothing I can argue with: finding the motor to run several engines has certainly slowed activity here on S/S, sometimes to the chagrin, guilt or knuckle-gnawing of the author, but always an unavoidable predicament if the main vehicle is to be kept moving forward.

‘Engine, engine, Number Nine!’ (My open secret is that I loathe cars, making these metaphors for busy-ness/automobiles predictable, but no less true.)


Almost nothing will keep me reading the bevy of superb writing from my favorite blogs, however, many of whom incidentally write about fashion/bodies. I came across this gem by Minha-ha Pham from Threadbared, ruminating on the embedded logic of digital ‘flexitime’ and the pol-ec implications of being ON:

[I]t’s important not to gloss over the fact that computer-mediated communication technologies and digital labor are deeply embedded in capitalist logics. […] For example, the structures of digital temporality (i.e., timestamps, the organization and archiving of posts in reverse chronological order, etc.) continue to naturalize and positively secure capitalist valuations of productivity, punctuality, and accumulation (of symbolic, cultural, and material capital). Working overtime (if we can still use that concept in the “flexitime” of digital temporality) is de rigeur for fashion bloggers, especially because their productivity must keep pace with the accelerated rhythms of the fashion-beauty complex organized and driven by the capitalist logic of the New/Now. In other words, the spirit of capitalism and its ethic of dogged and steadfast productivity permeate the digital creative labor of fashion blogs even when that labor is “free” (that is, both free from the 9-to-5 workday/workplace and also unpaid).

Minh-ha specifies writing about fashion but the adaptation of this New/Now logic to many other forms of digital labor is crucial, and something I will be thinking deeply about as this site takes new changes and habits.

(Top : art from A1one. Thomas the Tank photo by Paul Anderson.)

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 7, 2010 18:20

    there is no escape. negation is still part of the dialectic. we are doomed

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  1. Ideas to look up that are relevant | Tricia Okin / Parsons MFA Design & Technology Thesis Research

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