Hector Postigo, on the “architectures of digital labor” on YouTube

Glad to circulate a new essay from Culture Digitally co-founder Hector Postigo, it’s an excellent read. It is now available in the “online first” section of New Media & Society.

Hector Postigo, “The socio-technical architecture of digital labor: Converting play into YouTube money.” New Media & Society (2014)


This article uses the case of video game commentators and examples from research to highlight implications for conceptualizing the concept of “architectures of digital labor.” The concept draws attention not only to the social practices that position activities straddling labor/leisure into a commercial framework but also to the technological platforms that make that possible in a seemingly invisible fashion. The main analytical lens is that of “affordances.” It is used to map how technological features designed into YouTube create a set of probable uses/meanings/practices for users while serving YouTube’s business interests. The analysis is transferable to other social web platforms whose central business model focuses on user-generated content (UGC).