According to Zizi Papacharissi in The virtual sphere, the ‘public sphere’ needs reviving – and new technologies are giving us the opportunity to do this. Does the public sphere lead to public opinion and are social media sites like Instagram and Twitter gaining more power to influence people before they have their own views? I’m still on the fence. ‘The critical state of a democracy can be measured by taking the pulse of the life of its political public sphere’ (Habermas, 2004) which I guess suggests that this is true. If most of society is involved in political participation, it means that democracy can potentially be controlled by what information is presented to the public.
It’s great that new technologies allow for conversation from two corners of the world, it brings people together and it should hopefully enable people to have an open-minded view about various issues (because of cultural diversity in different countries). Thinking about this though, you could easily argue that technology does not force a public space – that is down to the public, it merely offers a virtual place to do so.
It is suggested that the ‘public sphere’ is loosing or has lost its place in areas like politics and that emerging areas of the web, mainly social are bringing it back. When it is used for something useful like sharing an opinion I think social media is a perfect ‘space’ for this purpose. There are so many voices online, and will be even more in the future because of population growth I think it is important to make full use of online resources to establish our own views on politics, religion, war and society in general. Often I see a friends post about a topic and it informs me on something I never had an opinion about before so this is where it is successful. The demand for information to be reachable and accessed by the masses is increasing and this has been done through the idea of the public sphere conversation and communication of individuals, technology simply makes it easy!
Something to think about, Thanks 🙂