The Public Sphere and Mass Media

Unknown The public sphere was created in the 18th century and continues to be around to this day. It is a place where people can come together and discuss matters important to them. However, over time this ‘place’ is no longer a physical setting but is now is in fact found online, transforming it into a ‘mediated public sphere’. Society’s access to advancing technologies have manipulated where we can find the public sphere permitting its users better accessibility. The increased role of the public sphere within social media also allows a greater audience and a greater number of participants influencing the shift from how the media impacts its users to how the users impact the media.

Examples of medias that convey the public sphere include television, radio, film, magazines/newspapers and social media. Until recently, television networks have twisted the way in which we can participate in the mediated public sphere. Using twitter and the certain ‘#hashtags’, popular television shows such as ‘The Block’ and ‘My Kitchen Rules’ empower the audience by letting them voice their personal opinions and beliefs onto live television. By presenting a selection of both positive and negative tweets, we are exposed to numerous thoughts. The audience’s involvement within the television program helps promote the easy and accessible way in which they can be a part of the show and have their voice heard. By combining these two mediums we are given a perfect example of how overtime the advancements in technology have expanded the way in which society can interact within the mediated public sphere. The popular television program ‘Talkin’ Bout Your Generation’ is another example of a public sphere. It was a show where three teams of two would come together to test and discuss popular culture knowledge. Each group represented a different cultural generation- the Baby Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y. In a way, the show voiced society members and expressed a variety of values and beliefs. Through televising the program, the audience were exposed to numerous issues both from past and present that were expressed in a humorous manner differing from what we may see on the news or other medias. The show acted as a platform where the public sphere could take place and present itself to an audience.

Overtime the public sphere has been altered due to the advancements in our technology and the influence of mass media. It is now a ‘place’ where the public can come together and discuss issues they feel important to them. It is now more accessible than ever and allows us to be exposed to a number of people’s beliefs, opinions and thoughts. Mass media has allowed us to participate in the exploration of topics we feel open to and has transformed today’s society into an active one. This newly adapted ‘mediated public sphere’ introduces us to more ideas than ever creating a world we can truly communicate in.

References:

Christopher Neal, 25 April 2012, The Public Sphere and New Media, Social Media Today, viewed 12 April 2015,
http://www.socialmediatoday.com/content/public-sphere-and-new-media

Shaun Micallef Online, 2011, Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation, shaunmicallefonline.com, viewed 13 April 2015
http://www.shaunmicallefonline.com/?page_id=94

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2 thoughts on “The Public Sphere and Mass Media

  1. I was struggling to get my head around this whole ‘public sphere’ idea, but the post really cleared it up for me. Essentially, I believe that all TV shows are introducing this live twitter feed of opinions and debate from their viewers to be displayed on screen as it allows for a common agreement between other viewers. I remember watching an episode of The Block and I was so frustrated with one of the contestants, and then up popped this tweet from someone who was feeling the same and it just made me feel so much better. And same with ‘talkin bout your generation’, just breaking them up into the generations and having a guest that only each generation really connects with makes the whole viewing a lot more enjoyable. Thanks for clearing this up for me, nice post!

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  2. I agree with the way you have presented this weeks blog post and how you referred it to a television show we all would of know of and can relate to. I like how you began with a fact about when the public sphere started and then moved on to how it has evolved with technology, making reference to individual media platforms. I think it was a good idea to use Twitter as an example as it helped me and will probably help other first year BCM students fully understand the concept of what the public sphere really is about, as Twitter is something we are now all using. You’re right in relation to your comment about mass media having control or at least heavily influencing what we talk about on social media, TV etc, which can be seen as an negative issue stopping us from obtaining individuality. But however, in many ways still gives us the power to voice our personal opinions on various topics. Good referencing although not sure whether you have to also have to do in text referencing too, maybe double check that? Other than that l think this is an awesome blog post, makes sense, an easy read and helped me gain a different perception on the current topic. Well done! 🙂

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