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

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Generation Y: Making Culture


This week was a hard concept to write about as I have a fairly pessimistic view of the culture I live in. I don't see myself as the typical Aussie - I find cricket boring and I don’t really like AFL or Rugby. I don't drink beer and I don’t particularly like BBQ’s either. I listen to mostly English, American and some Australian pop, punk and rock music; I am an avid consumer and buy things such as clothing, books, CD’s and other merchandise mostly online. I would probably be considered a stereotypical 22 year old Generation Y female that grew up with technology and I am part of a generation that tends to understand modern technology better than any generation before it.

Gavatorta (2012) describes Generation Y as those born after 1980 that are considered “tech savvy, family-centric, team oriented, and attention craving.” We are seen as a generation that drink too much, spend too much, share too much, and don’t care about anything - except ourselves. We will happily post drunk/half naked/incriminating photos of ourselves on Facebook or Twitter for the world to see. We use social media like it’s going out of fashion and laugh at our parents who seem ignorant when they don’t know what ‘tweeting’ is, or don’t fully understand the concept of Facebook.

We never have enough and always want more - more money, more ‘stuff’, more friend requests, and more Twitter followers. For example in 2008, Gen Y consumers spent US $33.7 billion on apparel, approximately US $4-$17 billion higher than that of any other age group” (Tran, 2008 as cited in Koo, Knight, Yang, and Xiang, 2012). Whether people like it, we are here and we are the driving force of the culture that consumes much of western society.


Gavatorta, S 2012, 'It's a Millennial Thing', T+D, vol. 66, no. 3, p. 58.

Koo, W, Knight, DK, Yang, K & Xiang, Z 2012, 'Generation Y Consumers' Value Perceptions toward Apparel Mobile Advertising: Functions of Modality and Culture', International Journal of Marketing Studies, vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 56-66.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Olympics and Globalisation

Olympic Rings (source)
“In recent years, the Olympic Games have developed into one of the most significant mega-international sporting events” (Malfas, Theodoraki and Houliha, 2004). 
I still remember when the Olympics was hosted in Sydney in 2000. I had family living in NSW and we travelled up to see the arena’s that had been built for the events and walk around the Olympic village with my uncle who was a volunteer. It was a mind-blowing experience, even for a ten year old who knew very little about the Olympic Games.

Whether travelling to the games in London, sitting on couch at 4am, or catching the highlights on your mobile, everyone is involved. The work conversations “Did you see Usain Bolt win the 100m?” and even the controversies “Australia hasn’t performed as well as they should have” it’s unavoidable.
London 2012 Opening Ceremony (source)

Many countries fight to host the games as they are are put on the world stage and get an opportunity to show off their country, their resources and their overall dedication towards the event. Cities, like London, essentially shut down normal operation during the games and as far as I know, there is no other global event that has the same impact. Malfas, at al. (2004) suggest that ‘the increasing investments in Olympic bids to host the games, demonstrates just how securing such an event is seen as an opportunity to improve economic and social aspects of a city or region.’ The ability to watch countries from all over the world competing for a medal and ‘Olympic glory’, I think many people would agree that it is a truly globalising event.


Malfas M, Theodoraki E & Houlihan B., 2004, Impacts of the Olympic Games as mega-events, Proceedings of the ICE - Municipal Engineer, vol 157, 3, pp: 209 –220.