THE DYNAMICS OF DIGITAL CAPTURE: HOW INDUSTRIES TIE AUDIENCES TO EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES
Few studies examine “digital capture,” forces that get people to adopt digital technologies which, on balance, benefit organizations more than the publics. Using various perspectives on this topic, the panel will explore the ways four industries are rolling out digital technologies that have captured audiences in long-term relationships. One paper will use a “digital colonialization” perspective (Ricaurte, 2019) that highlights the influence of capitalist imperialism within contemporary political economy. A second paper demonstrates how network effects fueled adoption of the Common Application laying the groundwork for higher education marketing that fetishizes customer relationship marketing (CRM) technologies to the point of constructing teenage college prospects as sales leads and “yields.” A third presentation explores how companies seduce people to use smart devices that can infer information about the ways they talk and sound while the companies play down the surveillance aspects of the technologies, ultimately eroding their freedom to make choices under the guise of giving them new ways to choose. The fourth contribution presents the growing convergence between emerging technologies and the health sector from the perspective of political economy, demonstrating through case studies how audiences are captured through ambiguous framings that highlight the advantages of health information sharing, but obscure the exploitative nature of pervasive data collection and its use for commercial purposes. Together, the panel points to research needed to understand the emergence of various surveillance regimes before they become taken-for-granted parts of the cultural landscape when changes to them can be made mainly at their margins.