An Internet for the People  


An Internet for the People
Princeton University Press | February 4, 2020 | 208 pages
ISBN: 9780691188904

"This book argues that craigslist issues a quiet challenge to the corporate norms that have become dominant in the twenty-first century web. More than a window to the world's ephemera, craigslist is an increasingly lonely outpost in a hyper-corporate web. It is the internet un-gentrified, representing an older ideological orientation of online politics, one that stresses technological simplicity, collectivism, and locality. Flawed and ever on the brink of obsolescence, it provides a model of how democracy can work - most of the time for most people - online. The first part of the book provides historical context for understanding craigslist, describing craigslist's transformation from an email list to a massively popular online marketplace and examining the development of classified and personal ads through the arrival of the digital age. Lingel also examines craigslist's legal history, looking at the company's battles over issues of freedom of expression and data privacy, and exploring what the company's defenses in the courtroom reveal about the platform's politics. The second part of the book explores how people use craigslist in everyday life, and the publics and politics that emerge from their daily online interactions. One chapter draws on interviews with craigslist users to examine the relationships between people and things in craigslist's secondary marketplace. Another looks at how jobs are advertised and filled on craigslist, and the shifting norms and associated class biases that result from craigslist job-seeking practices. Lastly, Lingel examines the problems that are created and solved as people buy and sell, find jobs and gigs, connect to, exploit, and protect each other on craigslist, showing how the community negotiates, establishes, and polices rules and norms. By looking at the politics and promises of craigslist, Lingel concludes, we can also reflect on how the web has evolved, how it has stayed the same, what we might want to protect and what we should think about changing when it comes to everyday life online"--