Blog Post

Project Opportunity: Contribute Stories on Digital Labor

What if there were a Fast CompanyTechCrunch or Inc. that covered not just the kinds of "tech workers" -- like high-profile entrepreneurs and executives in Silicon Valley -- who we're used to hearing about in business and tech media, but a wide range of digital laborers? Imagine profiles, interviews, and features focused on people like customer service personnel, data center and warehouse staff, community managers, Uber drivers and Airbnb hosts, or social media users who constantly create content and data, powering profit in the process.
 
I'm currently launching a project that will act as this kind of publication, using familiar aesthetics and tropes of tech and business media to tell digital labor stories that usually don't get coverage. The aim is to use familiar media elements to disrupt (to use a popular tech-industry word) dialogues on digital technology and the labor it runs on. Through an online "magazine," the project will be reporting on individual stories and bringing together perspectives, aiming to create a space where stories and insights on digital labor can intersect. While we will likely anonymize material to protect privacy, the goal is to offer real stories of real people and phenomena.
 
Where can you fit into this? I'm looking for contributors who can contribute one or more articles for the site in the upcoming weeks. You can propose a story or request an assignment; possible options for story formats include:
 
  • An interview with a digital laborer of interest
  • A profile of a digital laborer, site of digital labor, or interesting topic
  • A feature that uses a common business/tech-media template, applied to an unexpected digital laborer: "5 habits of productive...," "the morning routine of...," "5 questions with...," etc.
  • An annotated bibliography-type entry on previous work on digital labor: An entry could be on a scholarly article/project, journalistic coverage like this, or something else related to digital labor. The goal would be to bring these together under one roof (complementing and acting in conversation with our original material), with summaries/takes that are accessible to readers beyond the academy.
If you're interested, please get in touch with me at laura_mitchell@brown.edu -- I'm happy to provide more details and answer any questions. This is an easy opportunity to get involved with a project, and you'll of course be credited with a byline for any stories you contribute. I look forward to hearing from you!
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