One of the main building blocks of the commercial Internet are platforms; online places where two or more groups with matching demands and needs can connect to exchange goods, services or information. Among the most well-known and widely used platforms are social networks like Facebook (where multiple parties with a variety of needs and demands are involved), Uber (where people who need to get from a A to B connect with people who are willing to drive them from A to B), Airbnb (where people with housing space connect with people who need an accommodation), Wikipedia (where people with time and knowledge provide information for people who are in need of knowledge) or classifieds sites and e-commerce market places such as Craigslist and eBay. While platforms can take on different looks and shapes, a major characteristic is that the operators of platforms try to let demand and supply find itself as freely as possible. Especially when it comes to legal proceedings, the companies behind those platforms regularly claim that they only provide the technical infrastructure and operational framework, but that the users of that platform are the ones responsible for their actions. Platforms have evolved as one of the superior forms of how interactions and transactions happen on the Internet, and they will for sure keep growing and expanding.
Looking at the idea and mechanism of platforms from a more abstract point of view, here is a thought, or rather an analogy: The Internet itself can be considered one large platform. A platform whose users utilize it for the purpose of globally offering and “consuming” ideologies, cultural ideas and thought concepts. This is something completely new to humanity, groundbreaking but also not easy to digest. Continue Reading