Owen Kelly looks at some of the implications of Cory Doctorow’s neologism “enshittification” and the discussions around it.

Episode 065     September 1, 2023
Contributors    Owen Kelly    

According to Wikipedia, “Cory Efram Doctorow (born July 17, 1971) is a Canadian-British blogger, journalist, and science fiction author who served as co-editor of the blog Boing Boing. He is an activist in favour of liberalising copyright laws and a proponent of the Creative Commons organization, using some of its licences for his books. Some common themes of his work include digital rights management, file sharing, and post-scarcity economics”.

He recently coined the neologism “enshittification” to describe the process that online platforms go through, from offering their users free services, to offering advertisers cheap access to their users, to trapping both in a walled garden, to dying as both users and advertisers struggle to break free.

Like all neologisms the term does not teach us anything new. Rather it enables us to name and therefore discuss something we have kind-of known for some time. In this episode Owen Kelly looks at some of the implications of these discussions.