Public Sphere – Closed and Open Conversations

When initially grasping the understanding of what a ‘Public Sphere’ was, two groups or societies came to mind. One group consisted of close friends (micro), friends that I would debate with about the latest and trending topics. This public sphere is operated through social media groups such as a messenger chats or facebook pages. For example I have a messenger group chat with my school friends which allows us to remain in contact and share personal stories or news. My closed group messenger chat includes close friends who I would trust, excluding people who I don’t trust or don’t socialise with. Media is used for contact in this situation which both positively and negatively affects relationships and the way we socialise with each other. Sometimes stories and messages can be ‘lost in translation’ and personally I believe that it is at times a risky or even poor way of communicating with peers. In a way I prefer the old style of communication where friends would have to communicate in person and would have to make the effort to see each other. Don’t get me wrong, the ability to message a friend within seconds is amazing and definitely useful for everyday purposes.

The other group consists of a more national and sometimes global scale (macro). Both platforms, Facebook and Instagram, allow for an open discussion about topics which can be put up for debate. People who have the apps have the power to cause discussion and debate. However, Since Jurgen Habermas created his theory of the ‘Public Sphere’, the “ideal coffee shop” environment has at times turned toxic. The transformation of the way we read, watch and analyse media has meant that more people are able to provide an individualised opinion which can most definitely have negative effects on society and individuals. In this public sphere, anyone can be included and people who choose not to use the apps can exclude themselves. 

My example of a global topic which has caused debate is the recent discussion about a footballer who plays in the Italian league. He chose to celebrate negatively towards the opponents fanbase due to racist comments which were allegedly voiced by the fanbase. 

In a closed group, for example my group chat for my soccer team, anyone can provide their own opinion on his actions and have the right to voice their opinions on social media within its restrictions. The topic may also spark debate from previous events in time which have involved racism, not only in sport but in other aspects of life. 


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