Lately, platforms, have experienced a significant use and growth. This study takes a critical media approach to exploring how the platform YouTube is an articulation of Web 2.0’s celebratory account of the individual in the digital and networked public sphere. In the thesis, a platform-based approach is followed to examine the socio-political structure of YouTube. In applying the concept of governmentality by Michel Foucault to the form and structure of the platform, ‘community’ is reconstituted as a ‘population’ that co-determines the wealth of the platform. The concept of platform mosaics is developed as an aesthetic metaphor to explain how the user is managed as a collective of individuals. The symbiotic interrelation between user and machine suggests how the new social relations in contemporary digital networked information society have not become more democratic, but that the individual has become homogenized. The mosaic is symbolic for the platform-user symbiosis and emerges as an unprecedented form of individualization mediated by the platform as a host for content distribution. The case study of Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir and Natalie Bookchin’s Mass Ornament will function as an immanent critique of the platform to ground how the individual is governed as a collective of separate, homologous subjects.
Grand, and pretty interesting premise in this thesis – looking forward to reading this one.