Resisting the Digital Labor Management Robot : Learning to Game The YouTube Search Algorithm from Video Game Commentary Makers

Colloquium | April 19 | 4-5:30 p.m. | 190 Doe Library

 Hector Postigo, Temple University

 Center for Science, Technology, Medicine & Society, Berkeley Institute for Data Science

This presentation will describe the liminal identities, straddling craftwork and alienation, that these individuals took on through this algorithmically-mediated platform. Sometimes they were unhappy laborers in the creative industry that is user generated content on YouTube. Other times they were media entrepreneurs, savvy about how algorithms determine their viewership and stardom and who were not averse to coercing it to do their bidding through “giveaways,” staged “YouTube hate” between them, subscriber trading and other strategies. This presentation will describe those in detail and wrestle with that may mean how we understand digital labor in an algorithmically-mediated world. Harry Braverman once described a “deskilling” process that took much power away from industrial laborers. Research on YouTube video game commentators shows processes at times similar but also vastly different.

 cstms@berkeley.edu, 510-642-4581