Public Curricula is an advocacy group concerned with the intersections of social justice, technology and technology’s audience. From international trade agreements to neighborhood protests, technology is integral to everyone’s life. But how we use it should not be taken for granted.
The Cost of Internet Privacy
What kind of government requests does Google accommodate? Check our our latest analysis of 2013 data here.
Tech and Social Justice Grow Together
Spec Work, Labor and the Internet
As tech advocates, we often field queries from startups, nonprofits and political advocates around the topic of so-called “spec work”.
What’s spec work, you may ask? Let’s take a recent CL example as our jumping off point:
Need a fair/serious web designer who will build a small 5-6 page “member subscription” based site built in wordpress.
Willing to pay eventually if your work speaks volumes. At first you’d be an intern.
This is spec work. It’s when somebody asks you to do work up front, with only a vague promise of pay if it meets their (undefined and subjective) standards. Why is spec work bad? The heroic antispec website has this to say:
It is tough for designers starting out. They have no money to advertise for work and they have a limited portfolio to showcase their design. Crowdsourcing websites know this and take full advantage.
They’re right – it is tough for designers and developers starting out. You reach out, hoping to get that initial first score, hoping that, as our friend above asked, “our work will speak volumes” and “there might be a lots of work down the road” if we can “just get this phase 1 done for free.”
As a medium sized fish in a huge pond, we wanted to revisit this topic and urge fellow designers and developers, as well as those in need of quality work, not to do or ask for spec work. More than anything, we want to stress our solidarity and respect for labor and its inherent worth and value. Think about promoting a charter of principles at your work:
- Fellow web designers and developers: Every job you do on spec, or for free, lowers the bar of expectations and worth for everyone in your field.
- We love owning our own business. We set our own hours, small vacations, and might even work in our sweatpants on a snowy day. Just because your work is fun, or you enjoy your flexible and creative work environment doesn’t mean that your work isn’t labor and that you ought to be compensated fairly for it.
- At the end of the day, you get what you pay for. We believe in healthy, friendly, and responsive client relationships, where we are just as invested in a project as our client. We set real deadlines and stick to them. This can only happen with a fair, equitable, and mutually agreed upon compensation.
- It doesn’t all come down to the dollar. We believe in alternate economies of exchange—trades, barters, and flexible payment schedules. We stand for fairness in the workforce, and forms of payment that appropriately recognize the time and labor involved in getting the job done.
Take Time To Change The World
SOPA, PIPA and the Future of the Web
SOPA and PIPA, two versions of similar legislation currently being debated in the House and Senate, respectively, are dangerous and potentially ruinous pieces of legal code. If passed, these bills could effectively create an internet blacklist and improperly censor sites you use every day without due process. It is also a threat to internet and new media innovation and jobs in America and the world over.
Social Ink stands against SOPA and PIPA. We hope you’ll take five minutes to call your Senators and Representatives to speak out against this dangerous legislation. Google is also organizing a petition which should be an effectively large action to join.
We conducted a survey tracking experience across three types of places: a commonly visited area (in this study, Union Square and environs), a new place, and a favorite place in New York City.
We then mapped the results across types of experience, organizing observations into different categories — architecture, law enforcement, nature, and so forth.
Here’s a glimpse of our findings!