The Shift From Open Platforms to Digital Commons | David Bollier
Universitat de Oberta Catalunya — Open University of Catalonia — just published the following essay of mine as part of its “Open Thoughts” series. The UOC blog explores the benefits and limitations of various forms of peer production: well worth a look!
From open access platforms to managed digital commons: that is one of the chief challenges that network-based peer production must meet if we are going to unleash the enormous value that distributed, autonomous production can create.
The open platform delusion We are accustomed to regarding open platforms as synonymous with greater freedom and innovation. But as we have seen with the rise of Google, Facebook and other tech giants, open platforms that are dominated by large corporations are only “free” within the boundaries of market norms and the given business models. Yes, open platforms provide many valuable services at no (monetary) cost to users. But when some good or service is offered for at no cost, it really means that the user is the product. In this case, our personal data, attention, social attitudes lifestyle behavior, and even our digital identities, are the commodity that platform owners are seeking to “own.”