The Working Bee’s of Facebook

While watching this weeks lecture on the current state of liquid labour, I remembered a meme that I saw last year where it stated that Facebook creates no content but is the most popular media site, and it all finally clicked.

I always wondered how it was possible for Facebook to be the largest media company while creating no content.

Image credit: muchomove.com

Facebook relies on its users to become media workers and use the social media site as a personal information space where our interactions continue the information flow.

We do more than simply use the social media site, we subconsciously sort through the information that shows up on our news feed. Ted mentioned that we no longer preform work duties as a part of an assembly line, but I feel like we still do, in some form.

We–as users– are simultaneously sorting through information, adding things as we go, getting rid of faulty items, like we would in an assembly line. Except, we no longer have a physical place to do this, the work that we carry out as users is performed in this non-space of the cyberspace.


This new mode of work creates new interactions of hybersociability that allow for information to flow continuously.

Mark Deuze defines this as the ability to rebuild structures of sociability from the ground up to enhance our individualised network. This means that we use this form of work to make sense of the world, history and culture by highlighting elements of importance.

So when we think we have some time to ourselves, we’re actually all working around the clock to keep this well-oiled machine up and running.



Deuze, M 2005, ‘Liquid Journalism’, International Communication Association &American Political Science Association, Vol. 16, no. 1 <http://www.jour.unr.edu/pcr/1601_2005_winter/roundtable_Deuze.htm&gt;

Deuze, M 2006, ‘Liquid Life, Convergence culture and Media Work‘, Indiana Univeristy


11 thoughts on “The Working Bee’s of Facebook”

  1. I believe what makes UBER great is the fact that they don’t need to own the vehicles to operate, that way they don’t have to spend a lot of money on maintenance, that is left up to the drivers of the vehicles.. I’ve never heard of Alibaba.com and looked into it, its so huge and it targets the right market. I found these interesting facts on Alibaba though its 2 years old these are still impressive.



  2. The notion that we are all indeed ‘working for free’ as highlighted in your video truly explains how the idea of the continuous spread of information can be maintained. It’s amazing how readily available we all are now also, how we can talk to someone with a few flicks of our fingers and boom a message sent instantly. Through that notion we can also see that without us as the producers, consumers and the product itself, companies like facebook, youtube and twitter would be non-existent without this decentralised way of communicating and distributing information. By creating content for these websites we enable ourselves to become prosumers. Using someone such as PewDiePie for example, being the biggest youtuber on the website allows him to distribute and reach millions of people with his content, working also to build the brand of youtube in the process. (A little bit more on him and his youtube journey here: http://www.businessinsider.com.au/pewdiepie-is-youtubes-biggest-star-2014-10?r=US&IR=T). The concept of users creating the content and the central node of the website being so broad allows the company to be a success. It is indeed fascinating how a company with no content of its own can be so successful and somewhat ‘mooch’ off the work of others. Brilliant video as well. 🙂

    ~ krisesandchrosses ~


  3. Your blog post is well written and succinct! I really like how you used a video to explain your example – it breaks it down so simply and makes it so easy to understand, it’s hard to critique. The only suggestion I’d have is to make your video slightly shorter (although the majority of what you said was relevant), again, hard to be critical here!


  4. Hi Monique

    Your relation of this week topic to Facebook is really realistic. We sort our information is the same as how industrial sort and process items, and our news feed is the assembly line. Facebook provides us with an employment opportunity with a virtual workplace and we work in return for FREE while it earns BILLIONS. it is exactly what was mentioned in the lecture, these companies’s product is connectivity, and we are both customers and workers as the same time. I totally agree with you that we are working “to keep this well-oiled machine up and running”. We are the nodes in the networked system and we contribute to its existence and development.
    My recommendation is that maybe you should relate to other giants in the field such as Google to make a bigger picture.

    Hope to read more from you 😉


  5. I’ve never really thought about those stats in your infographic, and what we produce on facebook for example, as work. But really this is the way new careers are heading, anyone can be an online creator and get paid for it too http://www.afr.com/business/small-business/future-of-work-how-the-freelance-revolution-is-changing-the-meaning-of-a-day-job-20140508-jyw7q . I liked the way you broke down the memes in your youtube clip in relation to this weeks topic. The overall flow of your blog was great, really interesting and easy to read. 🙂


  6. Its crazy how Facebook works, I hate it! I think it’s evil! But I still have it, because without it, I wouldn’t know when I’m working next, I wouldn’t be able to chat with a group assignment and most importantly, I wouldn’t know if i’ve been invited to a party or event! I think in regards to the companies thats what makes them so appealing because people can make money off them while working their own hours/days. You can’t be fired if you’re having a shit week and decide not to drive anyone around for a few days because it is up to you if you want to earn money or not. The same goes with airbnb (love this site), if you have a few extra expenses coming up why not rent a room out for a few days or if you have the room, a house. Its perfect because you aren’t binded. As for the consumers, it is usually cheaper than using taxis or hotels, so why not?


  7. The notion that we, as consumers, are sorting through content on sites such as Facebook and Google, and thus doing the work for them is a powerful one that really speaks to the paradigm of the distributed network. I like how you mentioned that although majority of users are doing this for free, we are living in a society where select people are getting paid for doing the exact same things we are doing. Because of the audiences they are attracting, Facebook or YouTube etc. are utilising this high traffic flow to advertise products on these sites, creating money for not only themselves, but for the popular content creators and curators. Even popular Facebook pages simply reposting memes i.e. sorting through content, are now earning off advertising. This article here names a few individuals who are using social media and are getting paid for it- https://blog.bufferapp.com/earn-income-social-media


  8. It really is a pretty ingenious business model. The companies need not have much in the way of inventory or commodities; they trade as services, and it’s a really smart business model. Simply providing a platform for people to conduct THEIR business on, nets that platform a sweet share of the eventual sale without needing to be intimately involved in any transaction at all. Your comparison to it being similar to the glory days of ‘industrial’ workers is quite apt!


  9. Hey there! I love your blog post – it’s well written and to the point and your video explains the topic really well. I myself looked at how companies like Facebook, AirBnb and Uber rely on our value creation to make money. It’s crazy, I never really thought about it up until now because it seems so unconventional to the traditional structure of employer/employee relationship..but we are the workers of Facebook! You may find this article interesting: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/sep/25/facebook-money-advertising-revenue-should-you-be-paid Basically it gives the figures of how much money we make for Facebook. For example, In 2015, it was found that each Facebook user generates $12.76 in advertising revenue every year. That is expected to rise to $17.50 in 2017!


  10. Your statistics were a really good way to start off your blog post, it gave some interesting insight to a whole lot of mediums which really rely on the participation of people. I would also like to say that I really enjoyed your YouTube video, you made a few good points in it and I found it entertaining (especially throwing some humour into it). I found your post to be backed up quite well with sources which enhanced your ideas and I see where your coming from with the assembly line and I have to agree with you on that basis. Its not only Facebook you have to sort through but also Instagram, where there are a so many photos to look at. Overall your blog post was really well written and easy to read with your voice. Great job!
    – Bec

    Liked by 1 person

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