There are a lot of opinions coming from various wings – some positive, some critical – about how the circulationist incentives of online production not only compel a user to become a self-brander, but also shift the measure of critical evaluation from any single piece of content to the branding strategy at large. I feel apprehensive talking about “stakes” in any qualitative sense here, as I think that emergent forms of online writing – and the user strategies attendant to them – require the terms of critique, in turn, to expand. And it seems like that’s only beginning to happen.
That said, we can already see how circulationist incentives naturalize cultural capital as sufficient compensation for content generation; this carries one series of labor considerations on a platform like Facebook, and another when we are dealing with online publishing venues, such as art journals. While it’s thus important to understand how online and offline writing may differ, we should be insistent that their relationship to remuneration must not.