“I find you offensive for finding me offensive”- Eminem

“I find you offensive for finding me offensive”- Eminem

Yes, I just quoted lyrics of the great rapper Eminem in relation to “liquid labour”. Here’s why…

It always seems so absurd to me when older people criticise Gen Y for “being on the computer too much” or get offended at the sight of people “glued to their phones”. I could be biased, I could be ignorant, but I could also be a product of the “liquid modern society”.

 Deuze (2006) defined a liquid modern society as “one where uncertainty, flux, change, conflict, and revolution are the permanent conditions of everyday life” due to the convergence of production of consumption. Put simply, our work and social lives have become intertwined and now merged; borders have been obliterated resulting in the invasion of personal spaces (Mitew, 2014).

What this means is that it is almost impossible for Gen Y, and other people studying/entering the workforce to stay off their screens. Deuze also observed that a liquid modern society is evidenced through our “constant and concurrent immersion in media”. We can no longer simply “switch off” from our work lives when we get home.

The concept of transitioning from industrial production to knowledge production that Mitew (2014) spoke of in this week’s lecture was expanded on in Bradwell & Reeves’ (2008) article, where they stated the new labour market and technologies have put social networks “at the heart of organisational thinking.” For Gen Y, not only is social networking a way of the future in both work and leisure, but it is also a prerequisite and skillset required for obtaining and sustaining employment in many industries now and in the future.

Just as Kelly predicted in 1999, the new economy is all communication-based. “Communication is the foundation of society, of our culture, of our humanity, of our own individual identity, and of all economic systems.” Similarly, Deuze alluded to Hardt & Negri (2001) who discovered that “the anthrolopology of cyberspace is really a recognition of the new human condition.”

So, there you have it. The convergence of social life and work has resulted in a new human condition where it is –almost- only natural that we are on our screens 25/8. For work, uni or leisure, communicating is essential. Communicating via the Internet also means there are no restrictions with time and space- so it is actually totally normal for us to get a text message at midnight from our manager asking us to work the next morning. Or to receive a Facebook message from your boss enquiring about work-related topics while you’re out on a date. And naturally, we will reply. Always. Why? Well why not? Not only is it easy and efficient, but it is expected. We are expected to have an Internet connection on us at all times, and it’s netiquette to reply ASAP. Sorry people, but social networking waits for nobody. The instantaneity and ease granted with social networking makes this all possible.

This may be difficult for some people to grasp (read: older generations), because the idea of working outside of work, or being paid to tweet/Facebook/social network in general, is just absurd, right? Wrong. Producing immaterial ‘things’ in labour does not necessarily mean that they are not ‘real’, because after all, information is power (Mitew, 2014). So please, mind your own business while we’re trying to mind ours. Yes, on a screen. Yes, at 8pm while we are at the gym/shopping/working/in class/with friends.

References

Bradwell, P., and Reeves, R. (2008) Economies. In Networked Citizens (pp. 25-31)

Deuze, M. (2006) ‘Liquid Life, Convergence Culture, and Media Work’

Kelly, K. (1999) ‘This new economy’. In New Rules for the new Economy

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7 thoughts on ““I find you offensive for finding me offensive”- Eminem

  1. First things first, I love that you opened with an Eminem quote. Kudos to you.

    Secondly, I totally agree. It’s often expected of employees to be able to flux in an out of work and leisure time, like you said, it can be a ‘prerequisite and skillset required for obtaining and sustaining employment in many industries now and in the future’.

    Thirdly, I liked your point on the absence of time and space on the Internet, but perhaps we should instil our own parameters into the Internet to set some sort of time/space restrictions in order to create a less blurred line between real life and virtual life.

    Fourthly, I laughed and also moped about the truth of us having to reply because it’s simply etiquette.

    That was a really enjoyable post to stumble across, and got me pondering on the reality of our generation’s behaviour.

    Perhaps next time you could refer to a few more sources from outside of the reading.

  2. “Why? Well why not? Not only is it easy and efficient, but it is expected” Exactly. With the convergence of work and play through cyberspace (and the general extensive communication network brought with it) it is expected that you are on Facebook, expected that you can reply immediately and at any time, no longer is “I missed your call” an excuse (thank you very much Facebook ‘seen’ in chat ]:< ) there is no escape! A perfect example of the work being impactful in social lives.

  3. Loved your post this week! Particularly enjoyed it from a Gen Y perspective, because yes we have are the ones who receive a lot of criticism for engaging in media. We’re part of a different age, a new paradigm that insists for us to be active within the global network. Why write with pen and paper when you can use a laptop likewise sending instant messaging saves you the hassle of organising a face to face meeting. This liquid life that we live has so many benefits, allowing us to communicate effectively and efficiently for our convenience giving us limitless time and space. The notion of the breakdown of boundaries between work and life is absolutely true and seems to be a common practice today. I do feel though at times a separation between the force of ‘liquid labour’ and life/pleasure would be beneficial but it would depend on every individual and how they valued ‘work’ and ‘life’.

  4. Firstly, spectacular theme – the margin image is awesome! Secondly thank you for introducing me to the word ‘netiquette’. Well written about the expectations surfacing due to this convergence between work and digital life, it’s very hard to determine what is appropriate anymore – especially when I consider the manners about communication that were taught to me by my parents are often starkly contrast to the norms of the internet. But if anything was going to bring about such rapid change it was cyberspace, cheers for the interesting read!

  5. Totally agree with you, That’s the pros and cons of technology whereby its easier and more convenience for us but it also make our working time longer than as usual. It is a little difficult to achieve the working and life balance lifestyle for Gen Y?

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