Thursday, 23 August 2012

The Public Sphere vs. The Blogosphere

The idea of the public sphere was initially defined by Jurgen Habermas and is considered “the centre of participatory approaches to democracy” (Department for International Development: 1). It is an arena “where citizens come together, exchange opinions regarding public affairs, discuss, deliberate, and eventually form public opinion” (Department for International Development: 1)
In modern times, the Blogosphere can be viewed as the present public sphere as it is a public areas that are easily accessed (for most) and allow for communication, sharing of ideas and opinion. These platforms have enabled average people to share experiences, become citizen journalists, act as writers and informants on culture and even find a job

Whether this is via weblogs or less serious stages such as Twitter and Facebook, this shift has provided another opinion platform for citizens who don’t generally trust news media and other mainstream news (which can be biased or framed in a certain way).
However this shift has also lead to the decline in quality journalism as well as a decline in ethical consideration of material that is posted online. 
While this seemingly democratic process enables many differing opinions and comments, moderation of such content would defeat the purpose of the democratic process that is the public sphere. As such, these opinions cannot always be reviewed prior to being available for the world to see. If you’ve ever seen a controversial weblog comments section or the comments on YouTube videos, these can very quickly get out of hand and become insult marathons between people. Anonymity of the internet has enabled and normalised the misuse of online arena and demoralised the very purpose of the public sphere.

Department for International Development, 2009 ‘The Public Sphere’ CommGAP: Communication for Governance and Accountability Program, Washington


  1. A great blog Kate well done! Your use of the reading was very good and I liked how you linked key words to different external pages. Your page is very easy to read and is very appealing with all the bright colours and interesting pictures. You present your argument clearly and concisely and while it’s obvious that this is your opinion, you don’t overstate it which is wonderful. Keep up the great work!

  2. Great post, Kate

    I like how you consider both the positives and the negatives of the blogosphere and it helps your writing appear unbiased. It's clear you have a thorough understanding of the world of social media and this really helps your work's readability.

    Cheers, Robert.

  3. Hello there Kate! Well done on such a bright, inviting blog.
    You say that the online social media (such as blogs, Fac book, twitter) is the new form of the public sphere, but is this equal for all individuals to participate?
    I liked how you posed the flaws for such a new public sphere (such as the abuse that can occur with the use of social media), and how you also mentioned the positives. It was a good blog for viewing both sides of an argument, but what is your ultimate opinion? Is online conversation a public sphere? Is it equal?
    Great to read Kate!

    1. Hi Stef, My honest opinion is that Twitter/Facebook are not a true example of the public sphere as there are definite inequalities and not everyone has equal access or even equal standing online - but that was a hard thing to discuss in 250 words so I simply stated the other main positives and negatives of social media as the public sphere. Thanks for your comment! :)

  4. Hi Kate,
    I agree with your notion of the public sphere being an opportunity for people to abuse others and misuse the Internet for all the wrong reasons, which leads to the ultimate decline in the concept of the Blogosphere. I particularly liked how just in 250 words, you addressed both the positives as well as negatives, something I find hard to do. I also agree with your comment stating that Facebook and Twitter are ideal examples of public sphere, as they are accessible to everyone and some don't get to have their say- something important to the public sphere. Keep up the good work!

  5. I really like the flow and writing of this blog post. It starts off very informative about the Public Sphere and continues to link it towards the Blogosphere. The issues brought up a also quite relevant. I like the way you've linked in the positives along with the negatives for the issue of the Blogosphere. Some of the negatives mentioned I haven't greatly thought about, so it was good to get me thinking.

  6. A great blog post which succinctly describes the various issues that have arisen out of the growth in public discussion, and often argument, on the internet. The possible decline of quality journalism is a real threat, although placing regulations on the democratic and free public sphere on the internet is equally dangerous as it can stifle expression, opinion and free speech. The misuse of the internet to become a platform for spurning hateful comments has become a problem that needs to be resolved, as we've all seen recently in news stories of cyber bullying.