Alberto Romele and Marta Severo introduce their article ‘The Economy of the Digital Gift: From Socialism to Sociality Online‘
Theory, Culture & Society, 0263276415619474, first published on January 20, 2016
This article discusses the value of gift exchange in online social media. In the first part, the authors show how most of the commentators have considered online gifting as an alternative to the classical market economy. Yet the recent (re)territorialization of the web challenges this perspective. As a consequence, the internet can no longer be considered a reply to capitalism. In the second part, the authors argue that in anthropology and social philosophy the term ‘gift’ has often been used improperly, and that gift exchange has nothing to do with goods exchange, but with mutual recognition. In the third part, they use this definition to stress the importance of gift circulation through Facebook’s ‘Like’ button and the Twitter feature called ‘Mention’. In conclusion, the authors deal with the ‘Like economy’, i.e. the interference between gift exchange and market economy which is daily at work online.