Value in Informational Capitalism and on the Internet – Arvidsson and Colleoni

Value is an extremely loaded term. Beyond purely monetary notions of value, value represents a myriad of things for any given individual. In the online space defined increasingly by huge platforms of interaction, creation and play; value is the component that makes everything tick. If everyone receives value then a platform can flourish, however exactly what defines value for particular stakeholders is still a huge question. In this piece Arvidsson and Colleoni (A+H) tackle the question of value through a critique of notions of labour, preferring to see “value creation as based primarily on the capacity to initiate and sustain webs of affective relations, and value realisation as linked to a reputation based financial model. ”

In these two related components A+H see value as a two way process towards eventual monetary value for the overriding corporation. Value starts through affective relations and value for the participants exists here, in the social dynamics that the platform sustains. However those ‘affective relations’ are also core to the economic valuation of the platform that is not based on traditional profit / loss numbers but instead the stock market vauation that is increasingly based on perceived brand intergrity and scope of affective influence. The strongest example of this was the $100 billion Facebook valuation that was only justified hrough stressing its scope for affective address and information gathering.

The assertions that are made here surrounding affective modes of value, economic valuation and a rejection of the ‘tenuous’ assumption that attention always equals economic value are both timely and essential.


Arvidsson, A. and Colleoni, E. (2012) ‘Value in Informational Capitalism and on the Internet’, The Information Society, Issue 28: 135 – 150, 2012.

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