As I am thinking about this week’s blog post, my mind goes to two concepts. First that our hegemonic reality created by the Web 2.0 world is more like a cult than Stanley Deetz’ (1991) nation-state feudal system. Deetz’ analogy of corporations to a feudal system transfers to our obsessions with technology in several ways, but I feel the small business individualized, even hegemony with the web a cult feel because we promote our own interests. We seek out those Facebook Pages we want, and we like them. Takeovers and mergers are less likely to happen here, and there’s almost no “constraints on information flow.” (Deetz, 1991, p. 15)
My second thought was that doesn’t sharing this blog post with all of you eagerly awaiting it mean that we are already too far gone?
The power structure of this oppressive place is behind-the-scenes. If we turn on the computer, we have certain expectations: for us to get online, for it not to shut down. We expect that wherever we are, we are connected. Here Deetz is right, “the employee is first a resource, never a citizen” (Deetz, p.15). And as much as we felt the web was trying to target and cater to our needs, we know that there’s really just a few algorithms behind getting what we want (targeted ads). Yes we say, this is only going to go so far.
You can rename the Facebook “Like” button or the Twitter #hashtag the “manufacture consent” buttons. Anytime we tag or retweet or share a link or photo , we “willingly adopt and enforce the legitimate power of the organization, society, or system of capitalism” (Eisenberg et al, 2010, p.149). With each one of these we are telling Twitter or Facebook what we want to see, what we don’t and we want Twitter and FB to then run our lives. And that’s when those targeted ads and the “sorry we missed you” post in. For a while I resisted these practices by just staying away from twitter and putting tape over my webcam. With Facebook, I would barely check-in. The less you checked-in I thought, the more control you still have over your life. But as the Borg have said “resistance is futile.” And we are back to the hegemony.
In a Web 3.0 world where sites (and sounds) are more connected and open but more monitored, the less we will have control over the hegemony of technology. Studies and articles now feature companies that will further target ads, connect hour safety and security to your smart phone, and try to keep track of everything going on in your busy life. This sounds like a loss of identity to the “corporate colonization of your tech-life world.”
Deetz, S. (1991). Democracy in an age of corporate colonization: Developments in communication and the politics of everyday life. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. Chapter 1.
Eisenberg, E.M., Goodall, H.L., Jr., & Trethewey, A. (2010). Organizational communication: Balancing creativity and constraint (6th Edition). Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s.