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Let's Unionize Twitter!

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 23/04/2014 Michael Rosenblum
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Workers of the web arise! You have nothing to lose but your #chains. In fact, not even those!

Today, we are all creationists.

Not in the sense that you might think.

Not in the way that they think of this in South Carolina.

We are all creationsists now, or soon will be, becasue we are all in the business, one way or the other of creating content.

The warp and weft of our culture, the very fabric of our day to day lives, is now created by... us.

And pretty much all the time.

This is a very big change in the way that we work, and we are only at the very beginning of it.

We are, collectively, uploading 60 million photos to Instagram every day.

For free.

There are now 20 billion photographs on Instagram. By far the world's largest photography collection, and all assembled at no cost.

100 hours of video are uploaded to Youtube every minute. For free.

Over 6 billion hours of Youtube are watched worldwide every month, for free.

There are 1.2 billion active Facebook users daily, putting in all of the content that makes up Facebook -- for free.

There are an average of 500 million tweets sent every day, for free, making up all of the content of Twitter.

We are all, collectively, working really hard (for someone else's financial benefit, I might add), every day between feeding Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Youtube. And this does not even begin to touch on Pinterest, Foursquare, Tripadvisor and a hundred (nay, a million) other sites whose totality of content depends entirely on the work that you do.

Stop working for a day and Twitter would cease to exist.

It's an interesting thought.

Maybe we need a Tweeter's Union? Maybe Twitter could provide health care to its U.S. based tweeters. And why not? According to the Wall Street Journal, Twitter has a current valuation of $48 billion. Compare that to Chrysler, which has a valuation of $10B and certainly provides all of its workers with both health care and retirement packages. Twitter does neither.

But Chrysler is 'old' economy.
Twitter is part of the new economy.
The economy where the workers don't get compensated for the value that they contribute.
Even slaves got lunch, and housing and clothing.
Twitter does not even do that.
Nor does Facebook, nor does Youtube, nor does Instagram.

Interesting.

For most of human history, we ate our bread in the sweat of our brow. (Genesis 13:9)
Work was hard, physical, real.
We grew food, or raised animals, mostly.
As late as the 1870s, 80 percent of the US population worked in agriculture.
Today it is about 3%.
And those who didn't work directly in agriculture made things - like bricks, or houses or steel or shoes.
Physical work was hard.

Where did they all go?
What happened to all the farmers?
Know any bricklayers?

Today, about 35% of the US population works in what we call Intellectual Property.
You know.
Writers, journalists, musicians, stylists, lawyers, teachers - stuff like that.
Making something out of nothing.

This IP stuff now represents nearly 40% of our GNP.

And this is what Facebook and Instagram and Youtube and Tripadvisor and all those other things are made out of.
IP.

And they're getting it for free.

And we're the ones making it

For free.

And they keep growing and growing and the more traditional IP based companies, like newspapers for example, continue to evaporate.
and take the paying jobs with them.

Do you see a trend here?

Does the word 'suicidal' have any resonance with you?

But this is happening.

And unless you feel like going 'back to the land' and back to growing carrots and raising lambs (anyone remember how to do this?) perhaps it is time for 'us' to 'take control' of our lives and get some return on the 'stuff' that we are making and currently giving away for free.

Is this possible?

I think so.

I think so.

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