Jenny Cox - Manifesto

1. Employees should be paid for all productive time they contribute to their employers.

Because of digital technologies, many employees can work productively from home. However, digital technologies can also provide many avenues for procrastination in traditional office environments (such as surfing the Internet). Employees, however, should be paid for what they provide, whether in a Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE), during weekends, or after-hours at traditional 8am–5pm jobs. Organizations that operate ROWEs and organizations with traditional office environments should set reasonable benchmarks for output expected per week from their employees (~40 hours). Employees who exceed or do not meet these benchmarks should be paid accordingly.

Because ROWEs provide the opportunity for employers to "overwork" employees by demanding more work under the guise of "working from home," federal and state governments must revisit anti-union laws. For far too long, the government has favored corporations instead of the worker. Corporate profits are at an all-time high, but adjusting for inflation, average hourly earnings haven't increased in 50 years (see Business Insider article linked below). The most effective way for employees to check the demands of their employers is to organize and bargain. Otherwise, the demands of capitalism and the convenience of digital technology will require more and more from ROWE employees (and all employees) without pay increases.

The End of the 9-5 (NPR)
Smashing the Clock (Business Week)
What Wall Street Protesters Are So Angry About (Business Insider)

2. Internet access and cell phones should be affordable for everyone.

“The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer.” As a society, we can either embrace or reject this maxim when it comes to digital technology. As more and more broadband cables are laid throughout the country and new cell phones towers are erected, our society has the opportunity to make the Internet and wireless communication available to almost every citizen. The U.S. government must consider subsidizing the costs of Internet and cell-phone service for the poorest Americans. Such access makes finding and keeping employment much easier. Furthermore, ISPs and cell phone carriers should seriously consider sliding scales for consumers who make less than x dollars per year. Most broadband lines already exist, and providers are making huge profits. By creating sliding scales, these corporations foster public goodwill, create new avenues for tax-deductible charitable donations, and gain customers they wouldn’t have otherwise (even if at a lower rate).

The Internet will only begin to act like a democracy once everyone has equal access to it.

Why Broadband Prices Haven’t Decreased (Kellogg Insight)

3. Individuals should assess critically all content they create digitally.

As we’ve discussed in class, digitized information can become public rapidly. It’s common sense, but it’s easy to forget, especially when social networks masquerade as closed circles. And by publishing digital content on a forum such as Facebook, Tumblr, or Twitter, users (with some privacy setting exceptions) waive their rights to say what becomes of that content. Even information sent privately to an individual through e-mail or text messaging can become public whether intended or not; the person you send it to can send it someone else, or you could mistakenly hit “Reply All” instead of “Reply to Sender.” As a result, individuals should be vigilant about the digital content they create and digital content they “star” in. Ask your friends what they intend to do with the pictures they take; if you don’t want something to end up online, ask them to delete it or don’t pose.

Obviously, this strategy isn’t going to work 100% of the time and factors such as alcohol and the situation’s atmosphere have a lot to do with it—but it’s worth being critical about digital information as often as you can be. Parents, especially, should think twice before posting pictures and video of their children on the Internet: most importantly, to protect their children’s safety, but also to allow their children to determine their own identities when they become older. It's important to remember your sense of autonomy in the digital age, and how what you post or don't post can affect both the collective Internet and your personal life.

Think Twice Before Sharing On Social Networks (Huffington Post)
The Man Who Makes Money Publishing Your Nude Pics (The Awl)

4. Public school curricula should promote digital literacy and best practices beginning at the elementary level.

In addition to cyberbullying campaigns and anti-child molester education already instated at many public schools, schools should actively promote literacy of current digital technologies and teach students how information they publish online is and can be used. Young people are particularly capable of posting things they might soon regret and should be taught from an early age that “the Internet never forgets.” Additionally, young people should be informed how Internet advertising is targeted towards their interests.

However, schools should not blindly mandate or adopt specific digital technologies without serious critical assessment. As we've discussed in class, initiatives such as "iPods for every student" or "laptops for every student" have not proven to be the amazing teaching tools they're heralded to be.

Digital Literacy Article (Wikipedia)

5. Employers should embrace employee software and hardware training.

If an organization has made a thoughtful, informed decision to switch to a new digital technology, that organization should provide training in that tool to its employees, recognizing that some employees may take slightly longer to learn a technology than others. As long as employees are willing to learn, they should be taught instead of made to feel obsolete. Additionally, employers should communicate to their employees why the newly adopted technology is better than the older one and how it will benefit their employees.

When employers embrace training, they recognize the humanity of their employees. They recognize their employees as teachable and valuable. Rather than just seek out new employees who already have the skills they need, employers should invest in people who are willing to adapt. As digital technology continues to evolve, students such as ourselves will soon be in the position of today's so-called "digital immigrants." It's difficult to imagine now, but faster than you think, people younger than you will be graduating with software and hardware skills that exceed your own and who are willing to paid less than you.

Training Helps Employees Overcome “Technophobia” (The Business Review)

6. We must find ways to adequately compensate “content-producers” in the digital age.

Although access to written and multimedia content has become very cheap thanks to digital technologies such as online news sources and eBooks, we must find ways to compensate producers of valuable content that becomes available digitally. Though nearly impossible to define, I’m going to say that “valuable content” includes art, music, and writing (among other mediums) that, if available 15 years ago, someone would’ve paid for. As such, “valuable content” does not include the vast majority of digital content. Because many consumers now access content for free or at a greatly reduced cost, organizations such as record labels and publishing companies have fewer dollars to spend on hiring new talent. Future compensation of best-selling writers and artists will likely need to drop in order to pay other talented yet valuable writers and artists.

One Google Books To Rule Them All? (The Awl)