The Age of the Internet (Hill and Hughes, 1998) is well and truly upon us, with the rise of social media, digital evaluation and cryptocurrencies being symptoms of a new variation on the concept of Public Spheres. With variations on public spheres such as Twitter and other social media’s emerging, we can also surmise the rise in exclusivity and variety. this is done as large groups of like-minded people contribute to a single public sphere until it becomes theoretically dangerous for someone of differing opinion to contribute within the aforementioned public sphere. When you shout into the abyss you will now receive an answer but it could quite possibly just be hatred and bile spouted by someone who disagrees, purely based on where you expressed your view.
This is why my public sphere, the one that I prefer to get my news from and contribute to occasionally, are sources that promote fair and balanced conversation. These often end up being independent and self-funded organizations, the best of which I find on Youtube and Facebook after all “All people want is someone to listen.” (Elliot, 2003). My personal favorites include the Philip Defranco Show, hosted by Philly D himself, often on camera stating “Of course this is a Conversation I’d love to know what you guys think in the comments below” (Defranco, 2018), and The Breakdown, hosted by Hasan Piker an independent reporter for the Young Turks, an admittedly liberal group.
These public spheres are a throwback to their original format, just conversation in a safe space, just with less exclusivity in the sense that women and minorities can and should contribute as well. Coming from Canberra and an all guys school, I found that I constantly clashed with my peers on topics brought up by The Breakdown and The PDS, with conversation often divulging into bouts of ethics comparisons. I found that people who didn’t share my view on conversation based public spheres would often defend their views without evidence and use belief in place of fact. This is of course just my personal experience.
An example of an issue that often still comes up in my group of friends is that of abortion and women’s right to choose. Without naming anyone, several of my acquaintances had what I saw as questionable views on abortion. I saw it as a simple deduction of ‘her body, her rules’. Allowing the resources needed to make an informed decision were basic rights and an obvious choice to me. My more religious friends saw this opinion as murder and would often loudly and abruptly state that abortion was a sin, keep in mind this was an all guys school, something I found highly hypocritical.
The beauty and downfall of my public sphere are that anyone can join it has no exclusive list, resulting of course in a slight amount of disdain who prefer to cling to other spheres in defence of ideas and rejection of others.
The role of the Media is clearly to be the mouthpiece of these public spheres, with hosts like Hasan Piker introducing them to the entire public Landscape, the Public Megasphere if you will.
- Clancy’s Quotes. (2018). Constructive Conversation. [online] Available at: https://clancycross.com/2008/08/20/conversation/ [Accessed 2 Apr. 2018].
- Culturalstudiesnow.blogspot.com.au. (2018). Jürgen Habermas’s Public Sphere explained (summary). [online] Available at: http://culturalstudiesnow.blogspot.com.au/2011/09/jurgen-habermass-public-sphere.html [Accessed 2 Apr. 2018].
- Dahlgren, P. (2005). The Internet, Public Spheres, and Political Communication: Dispersion and Deliberation. Political Communication, 22(2), pp.147-162.
- Filipovic, J. (2018). A congressman’s unbearable hypocrisy on abortion. [online] CNN. Available at: https://edition.cnn.com/2017/10/04/opinions/congressmans-unbearable-hypocrisy-on-abortion-filipovic/index.html [Accessed 2 Apr. 2018].
- Hill, K. and Hughes, J. (1998). Cyberpolitics. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield.
- Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project. (2018). Religious Groups’ Official Positions on Abortion. [online] Available at: http://www.pewforum.org/2013/01/16/religious-groups-official-positions-on-abortion/ [Accessed 2 Apr. 2018].
- The Conversation. (2018). Facts are not always more important than opinions: here’s why. [online] Available at: https://theconversation.com/facts-are-not-always-more-important-than-opinions-heres-why-76020 [Accessed 2 Apr. 2018].
- YouTube. (2018). Conservative Logic: We LOVE Free Speech, But Shut The F@*K Up!. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhtQNvQnTfs&list=PLTpcK80irdQgwDbfO28W25hUx6T1VYkyQ [Accessed 2 Apr. 2018].
- YouTube. (2018). Fox News Host Attacks Muslim Scholar Who Wrote About Jesus. [online] Available at: https://youtu.be/6s3FPX9P8b4?t=1m42s [Accessed 2 Apr. 2018].
- YouTube. (2018). Mass Boycott of Laura Ingraham Explained, Chance Responds To “Racist” Ad”, Groupon Scandal, & More. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s403m3x8zuM [Accessed 2 Apr. 2018].
- YouTube. (2018). The Young Turks. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1yBKRuGpC1tSM73A0ZjYjQ [Accessed 2 Apr. 2018].