Lately, I have had stutters in entering a professional career and workplace, therefore I have resorted to online platform labour markets in order to support myself, as a user and producer of this practice of labour. In my case, entering these markets brought advantages of facilitated introductions and alleviated disadvantages such as distance and proximity.
The more I conduct myself among these platforms, the more I find myself navigating through created “infrastructures of being” (Peters, 2016: 17). I have also realized that the term ‘platform’ suggests a lot while saying very little (Gillespie, 2010: 351), defined by the Oxford English Dictionary when used as a descriptive term for digital media intermediaries, ones which depend on computational, architectural, figurative and political meanings (351).
These environments are meant to ensure a harmonious space for an existing markets to facilitate the classic form of trade. Which is great and have been very useful resources. This also means experiencing new environments and locations, engaging in social and spontaneous interactions, as well as the utilization of skills and experience, which is continually tested.
Over time, these mediums have proven to be facilitators of my personal wants, which work in tandem between users to share equal willingness of giving and commitment. The landscape of these platforms are often barren and sifting through the information is a game of finding the corresponding match. For this reason, the competition for finding a match is high, possibly leading to emotions of anxiousness, doubt and ghosting experiences.
I am calling to attention the laid out terrain that platforms create and leave for users to engage and naturally pave its unpredictable course. Gillespie describes the term ‘platform’ as “being drawn from the available cultural vocabulary by stakeholders with specific aims and carefully massaged so as to have particular resonance for particular audiences inside particular discourses” (360), meaning that users directly influence the market flow and are therefore hoisted and propped up through the use of platforms in ways that are not possible otherwise.
“As they seek sustainable business models, as they run up against traditional regulations and spark discussions of new ones, and as they become large and visible enough to draw the attention of not just their users but of the public at large, the pressure mount to strike a different balance between safe and controversial, between socially and financially valuable, between niche and wide appeal” (360).
The empowerment that is felt to me is actual and only by treading through the app carefully and mindfully, I have found to be the best form of way to engage with it. While platform labour practices perhaps bring some inconsistency in terms of successful occurrences and encounters, these moments fulfill new empty spaces of needs and wants, once fulfilled through traditional form of trades, all created by these online environments.
To be forever from now on continued…