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Last edited by Darby
February 4, 2017 | History

The People's Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age 1 editions

Cover of: The People's Platform | Astra Taylor
About the Book

The People's Platform argues that for all our 'sharing', 'up-voting', and 'liking', the Internet reflects real-world inequalities as much as it reduces them. Attention and influence accrue to those who already have plenty of both. Cultural products are primarily valued as opportunities for data collection, while creators receive little or no compensation for their efforts. And we pay for our 'free' access to content and services with our privacy, offering up our personal information to advertisers.

We can do better. Employing a mixture of reportage, research and her own experiences working in a creative field, Astra Taylor not only offers an audacious rebuttal to the current Internet orthodoxy, she also presents viable solutions to our predicament. If we want the Internet to be a people's platfrom, we will have to make so.


Instead of the old start-up model, which tried to sell us things, the new one trades on our sociability – our likes and desires, our observations and curiosities, our relationships and networks – which is mined, analyzed, and monetized.

To put it another way, Web 2.0 is not about users buying products, rather, users are the product. We are what companies like Google and facebook sell to advertisers. Of course, social media have made a new kind of engagement possible: they have also generated a handful of enormous companies that profit off the creations and interactions of others.
Page 14, added by Prasanna Venkadesh.
A great Web 2.0 site needs a mob of people who use it, love it and live by it – and convince their friends and family to do the same. Mobs will devote more time to a site they love than to their jobs. They'll frequently build the site for the founders for free.

These sites exists because of unpaid labor, the millions of minions toiling to fill the coffers of a fortunate few. "Social networking, media and user generated content sites tap into – and exploit – core human emotions.
Page 16, added by Prasanna Venkadesh.
We are living in a world of “digital feudalism”, where sites like facebook, twitter, tumblr, etc., offer up land for content providers to work while platform owners expropriate value with impunity and, if you read the fine print, stake unprecedented claim over users creations.
Page 18, added by Prasanna Venkadesh.
When General Electric acquired NBC, for example, the CEO assured shareholders that the news, a commodity just like “toasters, light bulbs, or jet engines,” would be expected to make the same profit margin as any other division.
Page 26, added by Prasanna Venkadesh.
Understanding what sites people visit, what content they view, what products they buy and even their geographic coordinates will allow advertisers to better target individual customers. And more of that knowledge will reside with technology companies than with content providers. Google, for instance, will know much more about each user than will the proprietor of any one news site. It can track users online behavior through its Droid software on mobile phones, its Google Chrome Web browser, its search engine and its new tablet software. The ability to target users is why Apple wants to control the audience data that goes through iPad. And the company that may come to know the most about you is Facebook, with which users freely share what they like, where they go and who their friends are.
Page 15, added by Prasanna Venkadesh.

1 edition First published in 2014

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Cover of: The people's platform


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February 4, 2017 Edited by Darby Edited without comment.
March 25, 2015 Edited by Prasanna Venkadesh Added description and 5 excerpts
February 25, 2015 Edited by ImportBot import new book
January 5, 2015 Edited by Djela Djamba Okoko Edited without comment.
January 5, 2015 Created by Djela Djamba Okoko Added new book.