The digital economy is often invoked imprecisely and without due attention to the centrality of cultural and media elements of any such economic form. To understand why media and cultural analysis is central to understanding the digital economy, Prof. Jordan approaches the digital economy as a sector in the same sense that we talk of a financial sector, manufacturing sector, services sector and so on. In his talk, “From LOLs to Money: The Centrality of Media and Culture in the Digital Economy”, he purses the question, ‘what do we think we know about the digital economy?’ by focusing on three key areas: free labour, exploitation as surplus value and the collapse of the produce/consumer divide. The insights of each of these three conceptual areas identify important issues but each also has significant conceptual problems. To explore these problems, Prof. Jordan provides case studies involving Facebook/WeChat, AirBnB and the World Wide Web Consortium.
Dr. Timothy Jordan is Professor of Digital Cultures at the University of Sussex. His research examines the cultures and politics of digital and internet socio-technologies. He is currently work on the digital economy in a book to be published by Polity in 2019.