Several news sites recently reported that British Airways is asking its staff to work for free up to a month in order to cut the company’s costs. Such news would have been unbelievable just a few years ago. Here in Europe, having a solid trade union tradition, such a proposal would have been mocked as something suitable at most for Japanese people who are willing to sacrifice for their company.
But this is the brave new world of 2.0 where we are becoming more and more eager to participate and contribute. We are not only viewers anymore, but actors in the society of the spectacle. On the Net, we feed social networks with our “user-generated content” and help companies to advertise their products. “More than four in five bloggers post product or brand reviews, and blog about brands they love or hate,” according to the State of the Blogosphere 2008.
To feel a sense of belonging and to contribute to our community is an authentic human need which gets exploited by companies. It is easy to obtain: first, real communities have been impoverished by a massified urban living – family members themselves have been isolated by TV, video games and other media, and individuals have been relegated to an indoor life connecting with each other mainly through the Internet.
In such a condition, our sense of belonging can easily slip to social networks, companies and brands which don’t actually care about us, apart from being instruments of promotion and sites-filling.