a link to work on airtasker

airtasker, the quantified self and the sharing economy

Screenshot 2016-01-29 22.47.37

This is ongoing collaborative work with Jacinta Baulbach and Stefanie Duguay (QUT)
and Ben Goldsmith (University of the Sunshine Coast)

This study considers the implications of the quantified self at work in what has become popularly recognised as the sharing economy. To do this we draw upon a case of Airtasker. Airtasker was launched in Australia in February 2012 and describes itself as “a trusted community marketplace for people and businesses to outsource tasks, find local services or hire flexible staff in minutes – online or via mobile” (Airtasker 2015). These tasks include such work as generating Likes on Facebook, household cleaning, assembling flat pack furniture, wedding photography, software development and dog walking. Runners and Job Posters (potentially one in the same) inhabit the site and negotiate the terms of work on a task-by-task basis. Airtasker as a company provides the digital infrastructure for this negotiation work to occur and charges a fee to Runners – 15% of their earnings. Airtasker is rooted in ideas of collaborative consumption, contemporary notions of the sharing economy and enrols quantified self elements.

In this study, we demonstrate how narratives regarding the quantified self are presented by a range of actors in the sharing economy of Airtasker before a user joins the site. We also consider how elements of the quantified self mediate registration processes and the daily operation of Airtasker. Airtasker is a gateway to the neoliberal capitalist ideal of the free market, individual meritocracy, and the positive positioning of precarious work lives as allowing for freedom, flexibility and greater quality of life. At the same time, it mediates self-regulation through quantification of the self in a way that might be seen where workers hold permanent and exclusive contracts with a formal organisation.  However, in this case, those calculating consumers not necessarily set to employ these people may have opportunities to influence whether someone works, or not.

 

a link to work on gender and digital media

gender, sexuality and digital media

This is an ongoing project with Elija Cassidy at QUT.

This project started out as an attempt to build on feminist technology studies and masculinity studies by attending the to gendered nature of digital media consumption by men. In particular, the project wanted to go beyond gay men and hooking up with digital media and to explore a range of everyday experiences a wide group of men might have. The slides above are a very basic interpretation of some early data that we presented for feedback at a symposium. We have since extended the study to ask the same questions of women and this process will be complete mid 2016.

The study is comprised of an online survey which collected quantitative and qualitative data regarding the consumption of digital media in everyday areas of life such as leisure (including shopping, digital gaming and sports), connecting at work, health and wellbeing, and intimate relationships (dating, sexting and porn).  These are accompanied by a range of interviews undertaken with a diverse group of men and women.

This work will be translated into a book length study which we hope will be published in 2018 along with several journal papers.

work and IT

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Before I engaged with digital media and Internet Studies, the focus of my research was on technology and organizations. Examples of some of this work include:

Studies of packaged software selection processes
Howcroft and Light 2006 /Howcroft and Light 2010

The customization of ERP packages
Light 2005 / Light and Wagner 2006

The ethics of proprietary software vendors
Adam and Light 2004

The roll out of mobile computing in a fire service
Ferneley and Light 2008