The digital platform is defined as a combination of technologies that forms the ground for the foundation of other applications that facilitate social interaction. Platforms have played a significant role as intermediaries by enabling people can share their opinions. They are serving many purposes, for instance, serving as a medium through which individuals can express their views and enhancing business connectivity (Rettberg, 2014). Platforms have different features that have the power to change users’ behavior, and also have the authority to affect the users’ choice of platform. Platforms have also been accompanied by emerging issues like addressing challenges such as the decisions to leave one platform and join another (Bucher and Helmond, 2017 p.363). They are also means through which the providers of software, code social activities in computerized software which are presented in a way that enables their users to use the platforms. The concept of the platform can be best understood through looking at how social media platforms such Facebook enhance the interaction between users and the owners, as well as, features of the platforms that impacts users experience.
The role of the software has been significant in creating friendship among users. Through acquiring friends in the platforms, it helps in a variety of ways helps to create a social connection (Winseck, 2008 p.47). This is one of the features of Facebook, one of the world’s giant social media platforms (Bucher and Helmond, 2017 p.364). The platform has broken the norm that friends exit where there are existing relations among individuals. Software and the established algorithms in most of the social media platforms are what drive the relationships that even the users are less aware of. The softwares in the platforms create mechanisms through which they develop features by creating means that relate the users to self and others. The system establishes these relationships which can be best understood through the actor-network theory which demonstrates how the relationships are founded and supported.
Platforms not only facilitate human interaction but they also shape the kind of interactions between people. Information and the function of social media have the power to affect the way people interact (Rettberg, 2014). For example, Facebook has established features such as the personal profile and newsfeed, and through these features and other default programs, it has been able to create an experience that makes most users continue using the platform (Srnicek, 2017 p.257). Platforms constitute an assemblage of different relations that makes Facebook as a platform a process where ties are built through the production of new frameworks of friendship. Moreover, such methods are vital in maintaining relationships among users. The type of friendship that is established is guided the information that the users have uploaded on the platforms.
The platforms also can create a relationship with users through the incorporation of a particular cultural norm that conforms to beliefs of people. For example, the specific features such as those in Facebook where a user is given the option to have many friends at a given time helps establish an online society (Srnicek, 2017 p.257). The algorithms created in the platforms also facilitate the creation of friendship based on the specific features of the platform. The microsystem of the platforms facilitates the creation of a given user who adopts the platforms and incorporates them in their daily routine. The designers of the platforms usually aim at the interplay between the users and the platforms (Rettberg, 2014). For example, Facebook has effectively integrated its database in mutual friendship ways. The interdependence that is created by the engineers is designed in ways that enhance social connectivity. The social media can manipulate relationships because the algorithms establish standards of how people interact
The other feature that facilitates their functioning is the platform’s protocols. The established rules of platforms are what guide their use. The protocol guides the users on how to effectively use the different programs provided by the platforms (Srnicek, 2017 p.255). They guide users through the instructions on how to use the platforms. They have articulated users’ responses that facilitate the changing needs in most of the social media platforms (Winseck, 2008 p.47). Platform users have also been instrumental in the changes that are adopted by the owners of the platforms by either condemning or applauding the changes that are done to the platform. The changes are vital in dictating how the users interact and share information. Although there are users who might respond to the changes in a positive manner, there those who might take the changes and negative ways that might be detrimental and affect the achievement of the platform’s objectives.
The content of the platform is a significant feature in the digital platforms. The content conveyed via the platforms has proved to be crucial in expanding creativity and resulting in the rise of new social media cultures (Winseck, 2008 p.46). Platforms such as YouTube have played a significant role in the enhancement of creativity in the platforms. The contents formed to encourage the formation of new styles (Srnicek, 2017 p.254). The platforms have facilitated created a stage upon which an individual’s content such as video which can achieve global recognition. The produced content such as music and videos creates distinct opinions and eventually informs the groups’ affiliation. The creation of the groups is enhanced through the sharing the social media contents that people either accept or refute which becomes the basis for the formation of the groups. The sparked discussion about the materials that are spread further plays a role in the creation of a group of social media users who agree or disagree with specific content that is shared.
The partnership between social media platform and other media players is also crucial in the role that the media platforms are playing. The partnership is what facilitates the sharing of information between the platforms and other digital houses (Sapina, Konovalov and Boguslavskaya, 2018 p.43). However, the ability to share information is limited by some of the organizations sharing information with the platforms, which has been due to the inability of the organizations granting access to their data (Rettberg, 2014). Therefore, understanding how the institutional structures promote social enactment is significant in achieving the corporation between the platform and other media organization. The partnership between the organizations has aided in the implementation of important measure which have facilitated the use of the platforms by business people in conducting business transactions.
The control of the social process in most of the platforms has been an issue that continues to be debated. The set algorithms in most of the platform have reduced the control of the users on the platforms. They control most of the processes living the user with no choice, but to follow the prompts on how to use the platforms (Sapina, Konovalov and Boguslavskaya, 2018 p.43). Limiting the users’ control of the social process of the platforms limits the objectives of their objectives (Srnicek, 2017 p.257). As a social site, users need to have much power of the social processes in the platforms to be able to have a better experience in using the platforms. Certain features within the platforms need to be controlled by the users to facilitate the effectiveness in their operation because the users will be able to decide on how to use significant features of the platforms. Users’ control of the control is necessary, but overseeing the operation of the platform by the owners is also necessary in order to enhance the effectiveness of the platforms.
Just like other organization with property rights platform also have legal rules that are enforceable to facilitate control of how they used. Before signing up to the platforms, users are usually taken through terms and condition in which by agreeing with the terms and condition that guide the use of that particular platform (Müller, 2015 p.41). The names of services are a means of conforming to the traditional social norms that every platform must abide by. Most of this information includes the owner’s right towards the data by the users (Srnicek, 2017 p.253). However, most of the rules are set by the owners of the organization. There are no much-established legalities that guide the use of the platforms keeping mind that social media platforms are new entities (Rettberg, 2014). Although most countries where the platforms are operational have not established laws that govern the use of the platforms, there governments coming up with legislation that rather than promoting and creating a transparent partnership between the users and the owners, they have made the use of the platforms to experience numerous challenges.
Business platforms have also become a crucial issue in the business world. Business platforms such as Alibaba and eBay have become part of the daily lives of most consumers (Rettberg, 2014). Businesses are increasingly creating high-value exchange programs to facilitate interaction between consumers and business people. Business platforms have transformed different spheres of everyday business life (Bourdieu, 2011 p.93). The traditional means of conducting limited business firms ability to grow, and consequently, made it hard for most firms to expand to other areas. The advents of the platforms have bridged the gap between consumers and the companies, and this has translated into increased profits. The platforms have features that facilitate the exchange of information between the customers and the companies in a way that facilitates the purchase of the products that are being sold. The platforms can accommodate massive details on the products and services that are offered by the company, which plays a role in consumers purchase decisions.
Business platforms have specific benefits that can be associated with a particular platform. Users might prefer given platforms because it creates a means through integrating online market places (de Reuver, Sørensen and Basole, 2018 p.41). According to studies done on the perception of consumers on the effectiveness of a given platform, most of them agree that the best experience can be derived from a platform that enhances competition and reduces cost (Hjarvard, 2014 p.139). The online market place reduces the time taken by a consumer and the inconvenience in having to find a given product. Platforms have simple processes that allow transactions to take home, with minimal cost on both the users of the platform and the owners of the platform (Rettberg, 2014). Thus, the reduced cost has been a significant factor in the rise of several media platforms that most people have agreed to use and continue to use in supporting business processes. The popularity has been associated with increased preference by a section of the consumers. The differences in the platforms in terms of their enhancement of user experience and reduction in cost is the reason a given platform is preferred more than the other.
The principal limiting factor that makes the platforms to continue having problems of reduced use by most consumers is the fear that specific platforms might leak the private information of the consumers. This might result in their vulnerability and targets by criminals (Hjarvard, 2014 p.137). Therefore, although there have been steps to help in building platforms where users private information is safeguarded, there is still fear by some of the users regarding personal information that the providers of the platforms have to address. Some of the data is so personal that getting them to other parties might reduce the user’s willingness to continue using the platforms (Rettberg, 2014). Privacy of the user’s personal information should be guaranteed so that the users can be free to upload personal data on the platform. Information is critical in the success of the platforms, thus the ability of the platform to create systems that prevent other users from accessing information that has been declared private by given user results to confidence, hence continued use of the platform.
The digital platforms are diverse in terms of their purpose and structure. For instance, Facebook offers social media, but also provides a structure upon which other platforms are built. The same is with Amazon where other platforms can be created within the platform (Rocchi, Spagnoletti and Datta, 2016 p.278). Together the digital platforms are creating a range of markets and also aiding in value creation (De Reuver, Sørensen and Basole, 2018 p.45). The techno-economic systems facilitate business persons working on flexible schedules can entirely be made possible through the platforms. The algorithmic frameworks within the platforms have facilitated business to establish other platforms within the original platforms for more natural interaction with their consumers. These features have been facilitated through critical technologies such as cloud computing that have also been a vital process in the effectiveness of the platforms
Some of the platforms have also helped in mediating work in different ways. For instance, LinkedIn has facilitated the sharing of information about job seekers. The kind of information they share has come in handy to help independent professional to be found by organizations looking for employees (Rocchi, Spagnoletti and Datta, 2016 p.280). The algorithms facilitate the knowledge of the professionals to be easily found by the interested parties. The information that is provided by the platforms that can be accessed by persons who are interested in the personal data contained in the platforms (De Reuver, Sørensen and Basole, 2018 p.43). Although some of the platforms are limited in the kind of information that is provided, the user who avails the info decides the information provided, therefore, unlike platforms such as Facebook, where users can set the privacy option to allow friends to access information, other platforms share information with other users such as employers without the knowledge of the users. This is individually done to enable the information to be accessible by any interested party.
In conclusion, platforms such as Facebook through the algorithm and the terms of services in their operation have resulted in the effectiveness of the platforms in facilitating interaction between users. These algorithms limit the users’ control of the platforms and what the users are left with is to follow the instructions that are provided by the platforms. The owners have also installed the terms of services that the users must comply to help control the kind of information shared between users. Although they have established their own rules, different nations where the platforms are operational have created the laws that guide how the platforms are used. Although the laws have proved to be relevant in overseeing the use of the platforms in some of the countries, they have also facilitated derailment in the Fulfillment of the objectives that the platforms.
Moreover, apart from the use of platforms for enhancing social connections, digital platforms are also playing significant roles in the business world. Most businesses are currently using the online platforms in conducting their activities because they have bridged the gap between consumers and business which has helped the market reduced their operating costs, thus enhancing profitability. Moreover, the ability of the platforms to contain massive information has also played significant roles in influencing the consumers’ purchase decisions. Consumers purchase decisions are usually controlled by information about the products they would like to buy.
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