Postdigital Social Platforms

Authors: Fredrik Torisson*, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm
Topics: Urban Geography, Social Theory
Keywords: postdigital, platforms, protocol, digital
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 2:40 PM / 4:20 PM
Room: Balcony L, Marriott, River Tower Elevators, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

“Platforms are”, as Benjamin Bratton reminds us, “what platforms do” (Bratton, 2015:41), they are, in other words, first and foremost instrumental. In its most basic form, the platform is a territory—very broadly used—characterised by a difference in the protocols governing interaction between things, components, or, as the case may be, subjectivities.

A protocol is here understood in its basest sense as Alexander R. Galloway writes, as a rule of interaction (diplomatic protocol, social protocol, software/operative system, etc.)(Galloway, 2004). The territory of the platform is in this sense distinct from the territory which is not platform, but at the same time, the “things” interacting through the protocols of the platform are not necessarily confined to the territory of the platform.

As a social model, the platform offers the enabling of connections that would otherwise be impossible, a, if not the, principal commodity of a “reticular society” (Boltanski & Chiapello, 2005). Social platforms produce “other” connections, enables different networks, and other systems. The social platform is, in this sense, a “postdigital” entity, the digital leaking into and reshaping social logic. The proposed paper will discuss different types of instrumentality in social platforms (generative, second-order cybernetic, creative, etc.) and attempt to theorise the platform beyond the digital.

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