[iDC] New Structural Transformations of the Public Sphere, fluencies

molly Hankwitz mollyhankwitz at gmail.com
Tue Jul 26 19:03:27 UTC 2011

very interesting, mini public spheres cropping up as a result of personal
media, and how they may differ. my question regarding these: possible to
map? how can they connect, become fluid, and, negatively, how 'virtual' is
this space as 'conversation' - detached, in a sense, from place, except,
dividual space/Mitchell's networked cyborg-type.

<Jan wrote:>

One, if not the main disruption digital media bring about is the
emergence of a new type of public sphere - thus the reference to
Habermas in my subject line - by lowering technological barriers to make
information or content available.
Tools like (micro-)blogs, social network sites, video platforms etc.
afford the emergence of "personal public spheres" (or "persoenliche
Oeffentlichkeiten" in German). These can be best understood by
contrasting them with "traditional" public spheres produced by
professional journalism; personal public spheres are formed when and where

a) users make available information that is personally relevant to them
(instead of the information being selected according to journalistic
news factors or news values),

b) that is directed to an intended audience of strong and weak ties
(instead of the disperse, unconnected, and unknown audience of
mass-mediated public spheres),

c) and that is presented mainly to engage in conversation (instead of
the one-way mode of publishing).

Some elements of this development have been described in other concepts
or theories as well. E.g., Axel Bruns' idea of "produsage" also
emphasizes the idea that the boundaries between "producer" and "user"
are blurring - he is giving lots of examples from different fields; I'm
focussing here on the blurring boundaries between "senders" and
"receivers" - within personal publics, users are both, since they are
constantly "sending" information (e.g. by updating their Facebook Status
or tweeting) to their social network as well as receiving information
which is filtered through their social graph.

Molly Hankwitz, Ph.D.
Media and communications discipline
Queensland University of Technology
UC Davis Technocultural Studies, Lecturer
Design and Industry, SFSU
http://www.othercinema.com, Editor
http://newmediafix.net, Contributing editor

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