Platforms: How We Use Them & Why?

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In this global digital media society, we experience platforms nearly every day. Every site we access online is built and created with a platform. This allowed us to develop and establish the functionality we intended or wanted to create.

Defining Platform

Platforms allow us to create media. The term ‘platform’ is vague and for good reason. The true complexity behind the meaning goes deeper than we realize. This term allows for all “platforms” to fall under this umbrella.

The Politics of ‘Platforms’ breaks down the definition of the term into four categories:

Computational: “an infrastructure that supports the design and use of particular applications, be it computer hardware, operating systems, gaming devices, mobile devices, and digital disc formats” (Gillespie pg. 3).

Architectural: “A raised level surface on which people or things can stand, usually a discrete structure intended for a particular activity or operation” (OED, 2006).

Figurative: “the ground, foundation, or basis of an action, event, calculation, condition, etc. Now also: a position achieved or situation
brought about which forms the basis for further achievement’ (OED, 2006)” (Gillespie pg. 4).

Political: “This usage first emerged from the more architectural meaning, referring first to the actual stage constructed for a candidate to address an audience, from which they would articulate their
political beliefs” (Gillespie pg. 4).

The categories show the range in which the term ‘platform’ has. It is a reference for the “content-hosting intermediaries” (Gillespie) and its range allows for flexibility.

How We Use It

There are different uses for each platform we use. YouTube, for example, is a platform that allows for content to be stored and distributed across the platform. Creators use platforms to create content for upload and then use the platform YouTube so viewers can access.

The platforms we use also depend on what we are accustom too. In my hometown district we primarily used Google. This allowed me to be proficient in Google Docs, Google Sildes, and in terms of this class Google Sites. I have been using these platforms since 4th grade. Other schools on the other hand may have used Microsoft Word or PowerPoint. It is interesting that once we all meet at University we all try to learn skills in platforms that we aren’t proficient with.

As a society we love to use platforms. We use social media to connect and post on platforms, we decide what cellular platform we want, and we use platforms like YouTube to post and comsume content. Overall, platforms are how we create and consume content that exisits in the digital community we all exisit in.


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