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Free Labor and Digital Networks Americal Online Volunteers by Mind Map: Free Labor and Digital Networks
Americal Online Volunteers
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Free Labor and Digital Networks Americal Online Volunteers

Central Questions:

What kinds of institutional and work conditions existed in the case of AOL to create fruitful co-produciotn initially and then discord between volunteers and AOL ultimately?

Ultimately I hold a grounded approach

How did volunteers themselves see their relationship to AOL and can we parse that through the various theories of labor and co-production that have been discussed by many here at this conference.

Systemic Critiques: Can we resolve the tenstions between system critiues about exploitation and the workings of capital and the situated experiences of those doing the work?

Value of Labor

Work and monetization

Social Factory

Complete incorporation


A middle path?


Two Economies and the conditions for their existance

Our task to to figure out how to construct maximizing passionate labor

Living in the system

Situated Values


Appropriate Compensation

Control over work process

<html><img src="aol_logo.jpg">

Volunteer workforce at AOL was large. 14000 men, women and children

The "AOL Experinece": Community

Basic operations of, Basic Operation of Chat Rooms, Bulletin Boards, Tutoring Sites

Duties Included, Content Development and Design, <html><img src="kw_forms.JPG">, <html><img src="kw_interact.JPG">, <html><img src="tools_bug_report.jpg">, Enforcing TOS, <html><img src="kw_toscontent.jpg">, Helping new comers and other users, <html><img src="kw_clhq.jpg">, Extensive Training

Self Perception, Discoruses, Community, Skills, Compensation, Credited hours for online time, They felf it was enough when considered with the other gains, Rhetorical Force in Context

Focusing Events

Pricing Reconfiguration at AOL, Loss of overhead accts, Loss of small community feel for some Volunteers, Over-worked

Erol Trobee Lawsuit, Loss of content design priveledges, Division of Volunteer System, Treated as outsourced group through a subsidiary, Some weere hired outright

New AOL, New Narratives

Compensation, Average bills for people who volunteered were $300-$500 a month, which was incentive for them to volunteer to begin with...that and simply that these people like helping people and had formed personal communities online., Significant concerns among AOL’s CLs [volunteers] who have previously been “compensated” for the voluntary service through free time credit reimbursements accounts...the free credit time is completely valueless now