Participation or Exploitation?
A Reading Group on Critical Perspectives on Social Media

Co-presented with Institute of Communication, Culture, Information and Technology (ICCIT)



*All events are FREE and open to the public.

Wages For Facebook, 2014. Poster design by Eric Nylund and Laurel Ptak.

Join us for a five-session reading group on the politics and culture of social media, presented in conjunction with the Wages For Facebook campaign. For more information, or to sign up for all or some of the sessions, please email at least 2 days prior to the session.

All sessions run from 2pm to 3:30pm at the Blackwood Gallery, Kaneff Centre.
Free and open to the public, and all staff, faculty, and students welcome!

Click here to download a printable PDF of the Reading Group schedule and assigned readings.


The Blackwood Gallery is hosting a ONE DAY Workshop on Wednesday October 29, 1 - 4PM with artist and founder of Wages For Facebook, Laurel Ptak. The Workshop will examine the Wages For Facebook campaign, discuss the results of the student-based poll recently conducted at UTM and explore the potential for future organizing strategies around digital labour. Click here for more information.

Session #1

Introduction: Social media, audiences, and agency
Friday, September 26
, 2 - 3:30pm
Facilitated by Prof. Nicole Cohen

Mark Andrejevic. 2011. “Surveillance and Alienation in the Online Economy.Surveillance & Society 8(3): 278-287.

José van Dijk. 2009. “Users Like You? Theorizing Agency in User-Generated Content.” Media, Culture & Society 31(1): 41-58. Library DOI: 10.1177/0163443708098245

Session #2

Is it work? Social media and the great labour debate
Friday, October 10,
2 - 3:30pm
Facilitated by Prof. Nicole Cohen

Tiziana Terranova. 2000. “Free Labor: Producing Culture for the Digital Economy.” Social Text 18(2): 33-58.

Nicole Cohen. 2008. “The Valorization of Surveillance: Toward a Political Economy of Facebook." Democratic Communiqué 22(1): 5–22.

Session #3

Gender and social media
Friday, October 24
, 2 - 3:30pm
Facilitated by Prof. Leslie Shade and Prof. Victoria Tahmasebi

Leslie Regan Shade. 2014. “’Give Us Bread, But Give Us Roses’: Gender and Labour in the Digital Economy.” International Journal of Media & Cultural Politics 10(2): 129-144.

Melissa Gira Grant. 2013. “Girl Geeks and Boy Kings.” Dissent 60(1): 46–49.

Session #4

The economics of selling personal information
Friday, November 7,
2 - 3:30pm
Facilitated by Prof. Brett Caraway

Stephen Lilley, Frances S. Grodzinsky, and Andra Gumbus. 2012. “Revealing the Commercialized and Compliant Facebook User.Journal of Information, Communication & Ethics in Society 10(2): 82-92.

V. Kumar and Bala Sundaram. 2012. “Lessons Learned from GM’s Pullback from Facebook, June 18.

Session #5

Alternatives and resistance?: Rethinking social media
Friday, November 21
, 2 - 3:30pm
Facilitated by Prof. Brett Caraway

Ariel Bleicher. 2011. “The Anti-Facebook.” IEEE Spectrum,June 2011: 54-83.

Manuel Castells. “Prelude to Revolution: Where it All Started.” 2012. In Networks of Outrage and Hope: Social Movements in the Internet Age. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Wages For Facebook


Co-presented with the Institute for Communications, Culture, Information and Technology. Generously supported by the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council.