Another important question asked earlier about the master/slave dialectic as it applies to our relationships to corporations — at least as we approach the exploration of all of this as it applies to companies that rely on algorithmic inference — is does the relationship change based on whether the corporation has an offline and/or online presence? That is, does me walking in to Mom & Pop’s Tops on Main Street change the way I and the business relate to one another (as opposed to going to

It seems that it would, in fact, change this relationship, though to what extent is hard to pin down. I say this because advertising copy (as written by Mom on the site) is different than an in-person sales pitch (as given by Mom from behind the sales counter). Mom has to improvise (though, as a former Apple retail employee, I can definitely speak to how heavily scripted those “improvisations” can be), she might have to bargain, she has mannerisms (and so do I).

An online business can be more concretely curated. That is, text is written, graphics are uploaded, prices are set, and policies are outlined. There is no real dialogue inherent in the sales process. Further, online platforms provide an engagement with the customer well beyond the sales cycle. Not just for Amazon or Fitbit: maybe Mom set up an email list based on her sales history.