Given the ubiquity of digital platforms and given some of their unique aspects (e.g., decentralization) it is interesting to study how and why consumers and firms use these platforms in everyday life. Here, I will describe a few of the projects in which we try and use observational data to study behavior in digital platforms. While large-scale observational data research has the advantage of representing real-life behavior, it also carries with it two major challenges for researchers: (1) a limited ability to make causal inferences, and (2) a limited ability to identify behavioral mechanisms underlying the observed phenomena. I will describe how we used several approaches and empirical tools to deal with these challenges with some level of success. I will focus on two contexts which are important to consumers and firms in the digital ecosphere: online review systems and online communities. In the context of online review systems, I will show some evidence which provides insight into some of the motivations of consumers to provide reviews in digital platforms, whether the content of these reviews can be affected by factors completely unrelated (to the consumption experience) and describe conditions under which fakery of reviews occurs. In terms of online communities, I will demonstrate how we use observational data to help us understand better what may be driving their success or causing their demise.