Platforms as service ecosystems: Lessons from social media

Cristina Alaimo, Jannis Kallinikos, Erika Valderrama: Platforms as service ecosystems: Lessons from social media . In: Journal of Information Technology, vol. 35, 2019.


The growing business expansion of social media platforms is changing their identity and transforming the practices of networking, data and content sharing with which social media have been commonly associated. We empirically investigate these shifts in the context of TripAdvisor and its evolution since its very establishment. We trace the mutations of the platform along three stages we identify as search engine, social media platform and end-to-end service ecosystem. Our findings reveal the underlying patterns of data types, technological functionalities and actor configurations that punctuate the business expansion of TripAdvisor and lead to the formation of its service ecosystem. We contribute to the understanding of the current trajectory in which social media find themselves as well as to the literature on platforms and ecosystems. We point out the importance of services that develop as commercially viable and constantly updatable data bundles out of diverse and dynamic data types. Such services are essential to the making of the complementarities that are claimed to underlie ecosystem formation.

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