Elkin-Koren, N. (2012). Affordances of freedom: Theorizing the rights of users in the digital era. Jerusalem Review of Legal Studies, 6, 96-109. doi: 10.1093/jrls/jls011
Productivity measurement in the sociocultural context
In the sociocultural context—the public sphere in which individuals and groups ascribe meaning and value—a productivity paradox is any discrepancy between the outcomes of some change in the status quo and the expectations for how that change will affect a particular effort. Most often, such discrepancies are noted after the implementation of a technological innovation. However, the innovation need not be technological; the implementation of ideas, practices, and trends can generate overestimation of progress toward some goal. For example, diet trends often result in productivity paradoxes. Some older studies of weight loss maintenance indicated that 95% of dieters regain the weight they lose within a year. This statistic is so broadly accepted that it is often stated without citation.1 More extensive long-term studies reveal that about 13% to 20% of dieters maintain a weight loss of 11 pounds or more for 5 years. 2 Even so, the U.S. diet industry generates more than $20 billion a year and TKTK% of the U.S. adult population is overweight. TKTK% of the U.S. adult population is actively dieting. Clearly, there is a discrepancy between the expectations individuals have for efficacy of weight-loss interventions and the not-so-stellar results.
The potential for a productivity paradox exists with the introduction of any innovation. Anticipated efficiencies associated with social media networks are no exception. In fact, expectations of access, ease
2 Wing, R., & Phelan, S. (2005). Long-term weight loss maintenance. Am J Clin Nutr July 2005 vol. 82 no. 1 222S-225S
1 Stunkard, A. J., & McLaren-Hume, M. (1959). The results of treatment for obesity. Arch Int Med. 103:79–85.
Office of Analysis and Epidemiology, National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
2. Assumptions about how innovations like social media address Maslow’s hierarchy of needs
3. Productivity paradox derives from a failure to account for the value associated with non-monetary rewards when setting expectations for innovation. See Defining the productivity paradox and Factors contributing to the productivity paradox
2. Outstanding problems/issues: other externalities may offset gains from more (and more granular) information
1. Decision making (example: health/QR)
1. decisions about basic needs like shelter, water, and nutrition can be considered some of the elements contributing to health
2. The promise of technological innovation for better health management may be best illustrated by the increasing popularity of the quantified self movement. See Is it really so paradoxical?
1. assumptions about the power of data mining to address health issues
3. Factoring in the opportunity costs of pursuing big data could result in a different resource allocation, which might help individuals satisfy needs better. See Is it really so paradoxical?
1. potential to refrain from medical treatment?
4. Negative externalities See Next-generation personal genomic studies
1. health information and trustworthiness
2. low barriers to entry ensure diverse perspectives
3. trustworthiness issues
4. money still affects exposure/algorithms
1. The introduction of Internet technology has had significant effects on personal safety in both physical and virtual ways See Next-generation personal genomic studies
1. connotes a measure of stability to assuage the instinct to be on guard constantly
2. tradeoffs between innovation benefits and relinquishing control over one’s data
3. gaining insight into one’s health
4. convenient participation in the market
5. interpersonal relationship building
6. the Internet provides more perfect information
2. This information is still controlled by power dynamics
3. Difficult to discern trustworthiness
1. NSA revelations have drawn attention to the insecurity created by innovation
2. accelerates the learning curve
1. Social media ostensibly was created to help us connect better by eliminating that which confounds our ability to interact: distance and time. See Social networks and the productivity paradox.
2. Online dating
1. signaling is manipulated
2. social media networks
3. work vs. life
4. potential for various identities
5. potential for unexpected information “seepage” from one domain into another
6. are we more connected?
7. mobility creates need for other means of connection
8. detrimental to loyalty (work and non-work)
9. increased isolation
1. entails a sense of personal achievement
2. how continual measurement affects self-esteem
4. measures of success
5. online personae create the opportunity to cast oneself in good light for selection by others for jobs, dating, etc.
1. state of fulfillment in which an individual knows oneself and interacts with the world in a way that is consistent with his or her sense of self
2. Does technology make it easier for an individual to find fulfillment? See Productivity as art
4. Learning curve trajectory is not as steep as with technological innovation in business and e-commerce
1. NSA revelations
5. More people
1. crowdsourcing and diminishing returns as network expands
6. Reactions to information overload
7. Integration of the potential for externalities into the economic model
1. reassessment of the value of information in light of externalities
2. increases in resistance to Internet ubiquity
2. retro style
1. Boundaries for personal information
2. Calls for increased transparency
3. Social media skepticism
1. Expectations should take into account the other sources of value in our culture. How do the methods and variables we use to assess productivity affect our expectations for technological innovation? See Defining the productivity paradox
2. The ability to encounter an unrestricted reality see Productivity as art