Wai Wai CHAN


The emergence of various platforms provides information on how a person should live. The way he wears, the food he eats, the place he lives, and the people he encounters on internet left the footprint - or data - as a reference to certain platforms and websites he visited. Such referencing is achieved through different kinds of algorithm the platform used or heavy monitored by the engineers at the back-end. What they have done, however, faded out from the sense. They manage to change, not in the scale of evolution through, in every move we make in praise of the Internet and social media. Castells had stated that any polarized writing about the paradise or the evil of internet is nothing but the same mythology propagated by consultants and futurologists. This article does not attempt to form another myth in blaming the control of machines and networks. Such identification of norms and mechanisms of a platform that we believe causing immense impact is needed as a result in knowing more the construction of today's socio-techno environment we live in. In doing so, this article draws the attention to a local platform to observe the plausible impact it does to the society, or part of the society. The basic analysis model comes from Jose van Dijck in viewing the chosen platform. The analysis would mainly focus on the content, the business models and the users concerning the norms it generates. With the help of other platform, the impact is greater than it expected.

The platform named OpenRice, which is considered to be one of the largest platforms providing information about dining and enable users to comment on the restaurants they have visited. The platform "is positioned to be neutral and free of charge for the users (Openricers)". In 2009, the OpenRice Hong Kong recorded 50 million pageviews and claimed to be the most popular dining guide in Hong Kong. Nonetheless, the path lays for the Openricers (are called as "food critic") imposing a concept of quality lifestyle that itself serves way beyond a dining information provider. Craving for professional food connoisseur among ordinary people is actually the key to establish a neutral image of the platform, as it leaves a space for the users to be engaged in "striking for excellence" for the restaurant directly, creating a mirage between the users and the restaurants while situating itself in a safe zone.

Recommended Citation

Chan, W.-w. (2016). Intermediary as such: Observation on the Power of Eating Online. Cultural Studies@Lingnan, 53. Retrieved from http://commons.ln.edu.hk/mcsln/vol53/iss1/5/