Our lives today are often a tangled mess of work and leisure. We have no determined structure, and we live in a state of constant change. (Deuze, 2006)
Liquid Labour is exactly this. It’s the fact that we work, we labour and we create when the mood strikes, when we feel creative, or when it’s most needed – even if that doesn’t sit within the bounds of our normal nine-to-five workweek. A perfect example of this is our tutors and lecturers for DIGC202. Ted, Chris and Travis for example – It’s often easier to tweet these guys at 7pm for a quick answer than it is to go through their email addresses and wait for a 1-2 business day-late response.
Of course, this is only a small aspect of the issue, but as technology had grown so has our ability to work outside the socially accepted confines of that nine-to-five office. Working from home for example is one of the key selling points for the NBN. The idea that brining work home with you will actually make things easier is something that began with the mobile phone – You can always be available to take a phone call and make the decisions that need to be made right away. It was this first step of the mobile phone that has led us to where we are today.
Liquid Labour is something that has come out of a continuously expanding “Prosumption” lifestyle. Prosumption is the producer shift of Produsage, where tweeting back to students and Instagramming behind the scenes of a TV show are the norm. It’s a world where someone is always working to entertain, and where we are constantly producing content that we too want to enjoy.
Many jobs now see our liquid labour as mandatory – It’s just expected. If you’re running the twitter account for a brand, you need to be there when they are. I experiences a perfect example of this first hand, when Coles tweeted me back at 11pm (I may have been complaining about their new milk bottles). It’s this kind of outside office hours work which is slowly becoming normal because of the lack of time barriers online, and we will only be seeing more of it.
Deuze M, 2006, ‘Liquid Life, Convergence Culture, and Media Work’, Indiana University.
UOW Link: https://moodle.uowplatform.edu.au/pluginfile.php/245658/mod_resource/content/1/Deuze%2C%20M.%20-%20Liquid%20Life.pdf