Just like the telegraph, cyberspace has revolutionised the workplace.
Gone are the days of the 9 ‘till 5 Monday to Friday work week, our work life is now considered ‘Liquid’. This ‘Liquid Life’ is best conceptualised by Mark Deuze in his text Liquid Life, Convergent Culture and Media Work. He describes liquid life as “a precarious life, lived under conditions of constant uncertainty”(Deuze, 2006). Liquid life is the convergence of work and consumption, there by the distinguishing line between work and play has been blurred, thus dissipating the 9-5 work idea. Facebook in the workplace is the most prevalent example, which demonstrates this new liquid life dynamic. Facebook on a consumer level is seen as strictly enjoyment and consumption, this may still be the original purpose however business has leaked into this social network to connect users. As an example, my workplace employs the use of a Facebook group to keep everyone up to date with various going-ons of the club as well as to allow for people to swap shifts. This is but one example of convergence exemplifying liquid labor.
With the introduction of liquid life there was a dramatic shift in communication models. Previously most business rely on a top down or Hierarchical communication model, however the introduction of cyberspace communication networks has facilitated the shift from top down to a decentralised or flat communication model (Mitew, 2014). This in itself may be beneficial for employees however as Peter Bradwell and Richard Reeves state in Network Citizens Power and responsibility at work, “Part of this is about the intangibility of some sectors of this knowledge and service-based economy; creative work in particular is much harder to oversee and direct from the top down”. Therefore difficulties may arise in the effective communication between higher-ups and creative teams. There are both benefits and shortcomings in this transition, primarily they are that although decentralisation both encourages and facilitates growth and improves ownership focus it also may result in fragmentation and less control over works.
Bradwell, P. and Reeves, R. (2008), Network Citizens: Power and Responsibility at Work, p25-32. Viewed 22nd August 2014 <https://moodle.uowplatform.edu.au/pluginfile.php/245656/mod_resource/content/1/Bradwell%2C%20P.%20-%20Networked%20citizens.pdf>
Chris J, 2014, Advantages & Disadvantages When Companies Decentralize, Chron, Viewed 22nd August 2014 <http://smallbusiness.chron.com/advantages-disadvantages-companies-decentralize-11938.html>
Deuze, M, 2006, ‘Liquid Life, Convergence Culture, and Media Work‘, P1-20, Viewed 22nd August 2014 <https://moodle.uowplatform.edu.au/pluginfile.php/245658/mod_resource/content/1/Deuze%2C%20M.%20-%20Liquid%20Life.pdf>
Mitew, 2014, Liquid Labor [Part 3], online video, 18th August, YouTube, Viewed 18th-22nd August 2014, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3BJCXsaDE4&index=13&list=PLiPp71qLKusXOU1bKxHVappCbRNN3-J-j>