Online digital platforms hold a significant amount of power in the sense that they decrease local boundaries and have opened up new global markets. Online digital products have the ability to change the nature of the products being sold on these platforms. This research had the aim to answer how online digital platforms have changed crafting practices and products and how this impacts the creators of the products. Additionally, this research looked at how online digital platforms cater to diverse cultural groups. Crafters are often dependent on these platforms in order to sell their products and to promote their businesses. This gives online digital platforms a significant amount of power. A multimodal critical discourse analysis with semiotic intertextuality and topic modeling was conducted to answer the research question: ‘To what extent are online digital platforms increasing value for diverse artisans and their communities in the global North and the global South? Platformization accelerates change. Trends and narratives such as sustainability and natural materials are often integrated in products because it is popular and a common narrative on online digital platforms. Additionally, creators inspire each other and collaborate in order to create new products. Moreover, there has been a shift towards a digital product, meaning that not the finished physical product is being sold, but instead a digital version of this product. Digital products facilitate in bringing different crafting techniques into the public sphere, placing cultural crafting practices out of their context. All in all, this facilitates in making certain crafting techniques and materials more popular. It can be stated that online digital platforms have changed the products and its attached dialogues and as a result have made the process of creating the product part of the product. The already existing power relationships between the global North and the global South are however still present in the platform economy. Hence, it is still more difficult for marginalized cultures to become popular. In the platform economy community and collaboration are the two main contributing factors whether a product will be popular or not. The online digital platforms of Etsy and Instagram did not themselves cater to the diversity of different cultures and groups in relation to crafting but promoted products which has already been proven successful by means of algorithms. However, the crafting community did have the power to decide whether a product will become popular or not.

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Dr. Payal Arora
Media & Business
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

Emma Hennink. (2022, June 27). Crafting your identity A comparative analysis of the platformization of craft on Instagram and Etsy. Media & Business. Retrieved from