From social media to operating systems, from application stores to marketplaces, the term "platform" is now used interchangeably to describe a wide variety of technical systems and economic actors.
The platform now extends to the sale of second-hand objects, the sharing of journeys, the rental of goods and objects between individuals, the exchange of services for small jobs, the delivery of meals or even immaterial services (graphic design, computer work, writing).
According to the two coordinators of the latest issue of Réseaux, Jean-Samuel Beuscart and Patrice Flichy, the rapid deployment of these platforms has been the subject of three main types of analysis.
- "The first perspective is in line with the development of social media and self-publishing. Just as blogs have allowed the ordinary individual to bypass the gatekeepers of public discourse (journalists and experts of all stripes), so amateurs and multiple do-it-yourselfers have found in platforms a way to make themselves visible and find an audience.
- A second approach, articulated around the terms "sharing economy" or "collaborative consumption", emphasizes the generalization of ordinary mutual aid and sharing activities, the scaling up of horizontal exchange practices distinct from ordinary consumption gestures; it highlights the opportunities offered by the change in scale of practices, in terms of people's capacities as well as in terms of reducing the ecological footprint.
- These two perspectives seem quite enchanting to analysts of the "gig-economy" or the "on-demand economy". They insist on the formatting of contributors' activities by platforms. They denounce the exploitation of work set up by platforms, the competition between participants and between them and traditional employees, and the market distortion of platform activities.
In this issue devoted to service platforms, the authors seek to " combine a precise analysis of the activity shaped by the sites with a broader understanding of the participants' logic of action, resources and constraints.
Anne Aguiléra, Laetitia Dablanc and Alain Rallet study the emblematic case of bicycle couriers. "The originality of this article is that it presents a global analysis of this activity and is based on a survey conducted among couriers on their working conditions.
Pauline Barraud de Lagerie and Luc Sigalo Santos study the crowdsourcing of micro-tasks popularized by Amazon's Mechanical Turk. Rather than returning to the often cited American platform, they chose to study the French case of Foule Factory. "If the model displayed is that of the commoditization of small lost moments where one can accept to do uninteresting tasks for a few euros, we note however that some people spend long periods of time there, of which only a part is monetized.
Bruno Chaves Ferreira, Anne Jourdain and Sidonie Naulin study the platforms of amateurs or pluriactives: handmade objects on Etsy or making a meal at home (la Belle Assiette).
The survey conducted by Adrien Bailly and Florent Boudot-Antoine on two platforms, one for car rental (OuiCar) and the other for lending objects (Mutum) shows that, for the exchange to take place, "it is necessary for the two partners to go beyond, distort and transgress the framework established by the platform.
Thomas Jammet is interested in the "community managers" in charge of animating fan communities. Professionals "torn between the fickleness of fans who are far from having the same attachment to a brand as music fans and their dependence on social media platforms".Contents
- Anne Aguilera, Laetitia Dablanc and Alain Rallet: L'envers et l'endroit des plateformes de livraison instantanée. A survey of micro-entrepreneurial delivery drivers in Paris
- Pauline Barraud de Lagerie and Luc Sigalo Santos: And for a few more euros. Crowdsourcing of micro-tasks and the commodification of time
- Bruno Chaves Ferreira, Anne Jourdain and Sidonie Naulin: Are digital platforms revolutionizing work? A web scraping approach of Etsy and La Belle Assiette platforms
- Adrien Bailly and Florent Boudot-Antoine: Reinforcement and transgression of the digital intermediation framework. The case of peer-to-peer access
- Thomas Jammet: The activity of community management to the test of the algorithmic architecture of the social web