Prof Mrinal Chatterjee

The rapid advancement of digital technologies has revolutionized various aspects of human society, leading to the emergence of what is commonly referred to as the “platform society.”

In platform society, life revolves around digital platforms, which serve as intermediaries between users, services, and content. These platforms have become integral to our daily lives, facilitating communication, commerce, business, entertainment and social interactions. Examples include social media platforms like Facebook, e-commerce platforms like Amazon, and ride-hailing platforms like Uber.

The platform society is characterized by the central role these platforms play in mediating social interactions and shaping the exchange of goods, services, and ideas. The younger generations- millennial and post-millennial, who are digital natives, are densely into this society.

If you note closely, in the platform society, social dynamics have undergone significant transformations. Digital platforms have created new avenues for connection, enabling individuals to interact, form communities, and share ideas on a global scale. Social media platforms have facilitated the democratization of content creation, giving individuals a voice and platform for self-expression.

However, these platforms have also amplified issues such as echo chambers, filter bubbles, and the spread of misinformation, necessitating critical evaluation of the information shared. It is probably creating a world of its own and residents of this world are often distanced from the real world.

The platform society has disrupted traditional economic models, fostering the rise of the sharing economy and gig economy. Platforms like Airbnb and Uber have empowered individuals to monetize their assets and skills, enabling greater economic participation. However, concerns regarding labour rights, income inequality, and fair competition have arisen. The platform society has also posed challenges for traditional industries.

Culturally, the platform society has facilitated the global exchange of ideas, enabling the rapid dissemination of cultural products and fostering cross-cultural interactions. Content creators and artists have found new avenues to reach audiences, challenging the dominance of traditional gatekeepers. However, issues related to intellectual property rights, cultural homogenization, and the commodification of culture have also emerged as areas of concern.

One of the most significant challenges of the platform society is the management of personal data and privacy. Digital platforms collect vast amounts of user data, raising concerns about surveillance, data breaches, and the manipulation of user behaviour. Striking a balance between data-driven innovations and safeguarding individual privacy has become crucial.

Like it or not, the platform society has arrived, and it has already transformed the way we interact, work, do business and consume. While it has brought numerous benefits, it has also raised important questions about privacy, fairness, and societal well-being. It is raising silos within the society. As we navigate the complexities of the platform society, it is crucial to proactively address its challenges, implement robust regulations, and foster ethical practices to ensure that this new digital landscape serves the best interests of individuals and society as a whole.

(The author is Regional Director Indian Institute of Mass Communication, IIMC Dhenkanal. Views are personal)