Digital Media and Culture

Welcome to my blog for my Digital Media and Culture class! This is a semester long course that covers digital media’s history and development as well as its impact on human communication. I’m excited to explore the many roles of digital media in the lives of individuals and discuss such information and discoveries within my website!

  • First Website Reflection

    September 5, 2019 by

    The process of making a website was very exciting for me because I’ve never done anything like it throughout my time at Emory. I find it will be very rewarding to be able to look back at my work later this year and be able to share it with anyone who may be interested in… Read more

  • My Creative Project

    December 4, 2019 by

    Tate SchreiberArtist’s Statement I decided to completely shift the presentation of my creative project because I wanted to put more focus on my experience with my Uber drivers and their opinions. I felt like if I included the viewpoint of the company’s executives that it would take away vital information from my research that I… Read more

  • Research Essay Rough Draft

    November 17, 2019 by

    Uber has progressed immensely since it was created just over ten years ago. Designed as a rideshare system to beat out the current transportation mechanisms, Uber certainly succeeded from its reduction in price, faster speed, and general efficiency for millions of individuals to get from place to place, whether the distance be small or far.… Read more

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Annotated Bibliography

Addition Three Sources:

O’Brien, Sara A. “Why Uber and Lyft Drivers Are Striking.” CNN, 8 May 2019.
https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/07/tech/uber-driver-strike-ipo/index.html

Uber drivers have organized strikes in order to improve their conditions as employees. The specific demands vary by location, but each area is generally looking for changes in earnings/ wages as well as off-road terms when drivers choose to take a break from driving (and how it affects pay). The importance of striking in this day in age has to do with Uber’s power, being a company that was instantly something everybody knew about and changed all of transportation for the future. The company is about to hit it’s ten year mark and has progressed significantly over the years. However the company chooses to react to the strikes will pave the way for the future. I find this article to be insightful among my research because it gives specific examples regarding why strikes are happening and why it is important that they are happening during this time.

Bensinger, Greg. “Uber: The Ride-Hailing App That Says It Has ‘Zero’ Drivers.” The Washington Post, 14 Oct. 2019
https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2019/10/14/uber-ride-hailing-app-that-says-it-has-zero-drivers/

Uber believes that it’s driver’s aren’t necessarily included in it’s recipe for successful revenue. In fact, the company recently denied any relation to the idea that it is a provider to transportation. Instead, the drivers are considered a third part to the company. Uber is a unique system compared to other gig economy systems because the drivers are actually interacting with the customers in person. If the car crashes, it is not just the Uber driver in the car, but also the customer. Having such a relationship with the drivers makes Uber seem like a company more concerned about legal consequence, but unfortunately, the company is in a bigger mess because legally, the drivers should be under their employment as their partners. It’s heavy involvement in the interaction between the driver and customer make the nature of the system seem automatic in their relationship. This article is helpful to my research because it is deeply invested in the legal issue of Uber referring to its drivers as unassociated with its process. Denial of connection is discussed by members of the company but also through controversial cases involving Uber and third party drivers.

Conger, Kate, and Mike Isaac. “Uber Lays Off Hundreds More Workers as It Struggles to Make Money.” New York Times, 10 Sept. 2019.
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/10/technology/uber-layoffs.html

Uber struggles to maintain a good system with such a great amount of employees, therefore, the second round of layoffs this year was recently made in result. The growth of the company originally called for a major increase in employers, but once things are stabilized, the work of so many hurt the company more than it helped them. The cut of employees took place across multiple departments, once the function of that department was questioned in accordance to the success of the company. Their freelance system allows Uber to provide all the necessary benefits to its employees, therefore, laborers are getting less on their end and Uber is getting away with it. I found the recent cuts to be important in understanding how the system has flawed economically behind the scenes of the driver and within the heart of the company. Obviously, the role of the driver in my entire project is important, but the failure of the company on the inside also has an effect on a driver’s experience working with the company.

Academic Articles:

“MOTIVATIONS TO DRIVE: How Uber’s System Rewards Full-Time and Recreational Drivers Differently.” Uberland: How Algorithms Are Rewriting the Rules of Work, by ALEX ROSENBLAT, 1st ed., University of California Press, Oakland, California, 2018, pp. 49–72. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/j.ctv5cgbm3.6.

The purpose of Uber’s full time/ part time system allows for drivers to decrease high fees weighing on their back, or it gives someone who is financially stable a little more money to feel extra comfortable. This article also discusses the range of drivers behind the wheel for Uber, since some simply need a change in career, an extra supply of income, or a way to fill time. The purpose of the driver ultimately impacts the experience of the rider, such as improving social skills or being exposed to a variety of different identities. Personal drivers are interviewed in this article to prove that the reason to become a driver varies from one side of the world to the other. Some want to explore their local city while others want to get out of their current career. Meanwhile, the benefits to choosing part time versus full time are explained out of the opinion of the driver. They range from lack of commitment to desire for compensation. However, something that both full time and part time drivers share is the love for flexibility, but the commitment is short term and doesn’t necessarily solve a long term solution for them. Although some drivers do make good money, it is not common and that money does not allow them to live lavishly. This article benefits my research of determining why exactly drivers choose to drive for Uber and what keeps them connected with the company. There are many more reasons other than the need for a small economic boost that persuade people to get involved!

Riley, Joellen. “Brand New ‘Sharing’ or Plain Old ‘Sweating’?: A Proposal for Regulating the New ‘Gig Economy.’” New Directions for Law in Australia: Essays in Contemporary Law Reform, edited by RON LEVY et al., ANU Press, Australia, 2017, pp. 59–70. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt1ws7wbh.9.

Among the “gig” economy, there are various systems that provide rideshare opportunities for workers interested in a short term, collaborative market. Uber is described as a multimillion dollar company that has created a unique connection among its users and its service, but its also increasing profit based on the raw labor system. Their workers ultimately have to provide their own time, tools, and gadgets to reach maximum performance, encouraging a competition among drivers to succeed based on the effort and commitment that they put into the system. However, what is most interesting about this article is the regulation among the agreement of the drivers, for the formal agreement under Uber states that there is no relation between the company and the transportation provided to users. It simply describes Uber as an operator of a technical system. Such a statement makes it hard to understand the relationship between Uber and its drivers, because the company also does things like determine fairs and payment to the driver. Therefore, their relationship is complex, and there is a fine line between workers relying on their own work within this economy versus the work of Uber as their alternative employer. This article is significant to my research because it allows me to understand the connection between Uber drivers and and their relationship to the company through their use of the app. We often judge Uber based on our own experiences, so it’s time to start questioning the role of the drivers and how much freedom they have away from the app.

Video:

“Introducing the New Driver App, Your Partner on the Road.” Uber, 2019, http://www.uber.com/us/en/drive/driver-app/

This video allows drivers to see the improvements and benefits of the new Driver app that Uber has created. The app gives the driver information about traffic and customer interest from any area, making their experience as a driver more free and knowledgable. It is important to recognize the significance of apps like these in the experience of the driver, for it probably makes their time driving a lot easier and stress free. I find that this app would encourage someone to begin driving because they would be directed to the right and wrong places whenever they wanted to be there. Furthermore, an app like this allows for our eyes to see what we would never be able to have access to unless in person. Giving the drivers access to the app is an incentive to use Uber rather than using your own care because the passengers will know that the drivers will be taking the fastest possible route.