It is without a doubt that social media is my biggest public sphere.
Through scrolling social media daily, I see my friends’ posting about their opinions and beliefs. On top of this, I am constantly updated with the latest news stories, politics and what is trending. Not only do I consume other people’s ideas on social media, but I also have the power to express my own ideas. Thus, social media is my public sphere.
Jürgen Habermas is a German philosopher. He coined the ‘public sphere’ ideology. A public sphere is a place where citizens can unite and freely express and discuss their opinions. According to Habermas, there are vital aspects which are essential in a public sphere. These include…
- The public sphere must be open to all citizens
- There should be no intimidating force behind the sphere
- People can openly express their opinions
Habermas implies that not only should we express, but we should also listen.
The best thing about social media being my public sphere is that it is barely restrictive. Anyone who owns a source of technology is able to access social media. Hence, millions of people have the ability to express their political, social or religious views. The positive aspects of this include that the ideas I see on social media are not constricted to a certain demographic, race or religion.
However, unfortunately social media is a corrupt public sphere. This is because it does not align with Habermas’ vital aspects. Although social media is a platform where people should be able to ‘freely’ discuss their opinions, many people are often slammed down or disrespectful. As a result of the disrespect, our generation rarely debates in a civil fashion. This is because social media makes it too easy to have ‘your say’ without thinking of the implications it may have on others. Even I am hesitant to post my opinions on social media; not because I fear debate, but because I fear disrespect.
At the end of the day, the social media public sphere is the most effective measure to get a message across in the modern-day world.
How I wish my public sphere was like an 18th century coffee house.
Barnhart, B 2019, ’20 Social Media Ideas to Keep Your Brands Feed Fresh’, Sprout Social, viewed 10/4/2019, https://sproutsocial.com/insights/social-media-ideas/
Chaudhary, AS 2019, ‘Communication and Critique: An Introduction to Jürgen Habermas’, Brooklyn Institute for Social Research, viewed 10/4/2019 https://thebrooklyninstitute.com/items/courses/communication-and-critique-an-introduction-to-jurgen-habermas/
Deterding, M 2017, ‘Is Diversity and Unity Possible at the Same Time?’, Triune Leadership Services, viewed on 10/4/2019, https://triuneleadershipservices.com/diversity-unity-possible-time/
Pressbooks 2019, ‘Habermas’ Public Sphere’, BC Campus, viewed 9/3/2019 https://opentextbc.ca/mediastudies101/chapter/habermas-public-sphere/
Wessler, H & Freudenthaler, R 2018, ‘Public Sphere’, Oxford Dictionary, viewed 10/4/2019 http://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/view/document/obo-9780199756841/obo-9780199756841-0030.xml
WikiHow 2019, ‘How to Deal With Disrespectful People’, WikiHow, viewed 10/4/2019, https://www.wikihow.com/Deal-With-Disrespectful-People