Saturday, 9 March 2013

The Internet: Public Sphere 2.0

A lot has changed since the time when coffee shops were a place to discuss issues concerning the public. Today, a similar discussion is happening on the web. The Internet is transforming itself into a place where it is easier to express oneself. This is demonstrated through the emergence of blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube Etc. All these platforms are designed in such a way that allows for people from all around the world to connect and essentially communicate. People’s voices are getting heard at a quicker and more efficient rate than before. People from all around the world are able to join the conversation because of these platforms.
Yes- almost everyone has a blog now, because blogs can be about anything really. But some blogs are getting recognized as alternative media. Certain bloggers are really doing their research and are producing really good journalism without the need to please a certain political view. These platforms are more than social networking sites, they are being used to respond to the media. I have noticed that my Facebook and twitter accounts are flooded with people’s responses to big news stories. The Arab Spring was a revolutionary movement on how social media created change for the people and got their voices heard. It is interesting to note that regular people are not the only ones participating in this Public sphere 2.0. Today, almost every news station or media corporation has a twitter and Facebook accounts and are relaying information through those platforms. This has created a direct engagement between people and the media. I always wondered the reason behind the mainstream media having twitter and Facebook accounts, is it because they fear of other ideologies being disseminated? Do they feel they will lose power and or authority as trusted information? Or is it simply to keep up with the technological times?

Habbermas’ public sphere theory has not disappeared; it has been redesigned to fit the new technological age we live in. I must question however, does the fact that the media such as Huffington post, CP24 etc. participate and interact with the public through these platforms, defeat the purpose of the public sphere? What do you guys think?


  1. Hey,

    You make a great point, and I agree and write about this in my blog, that the Internet allows the public sphere to expand from coffee shops to across the world. In my opinion, we are no longer a community in the sense of your hometown community but rather the Internet has created a community of citizens that share ideas though the web. You make a good point that on the Internet there is “social networking” but there is also something so much more than that and that involves rebelling against mainstream media that in turn creates social relations. McKenzie Wark talks about this in his article that the social relations we create through citizen media are very important as citizens in the public sphere.

    In terms of your question, I would have to say that when the mainstream media outlets try to interact with citizens to incorporate it into the news it takes away from the public sphere only because often times the citizens’ opinions are altered to create an ideology. I think that outlets such as CP24 may interview citizens through social media however they sort through and choose which opinions to display and in turn this creates ideology and bias.



  2. Hey Elyse,

    Thanks for your post! I totally agree that main stream media only participates through social media platforms so that they can influence certain options. And like you said, just like in their news casts they selectively chose what they will show to the public. I personally see it as a monitoring mechanism.. and it bothers me!
    Have you ever tweeted, facebooked or emailed CP24 or any other news station with your opinion? If so let me know your experience, I'd love to hear it!