BCM110: The Media Theory Toolbox


The public sphere is ‘the place’ where each of us finds out what is happening, and what social, cultural and political issues are facing us, and where we engage with those issues.

My public sphere would have the be social media outlets. These would include Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. It is where I find out what is happening in both my world (friends, family etc.) and the world around me (politics, celebrities, world-wide news).

Social media is an online network. You do not need to be in a physical space to see it, and you can be engaged and involved in certain topics and debates on social media in the comfort of your own home. It is a place where we source our news and debate our ideas on the world.

Because these social media platforms are so large, many issues can arise from them. For example, there could be a twitter comment debating a topic on gender. This then sparks thousands and thousands of comments underneath not only criticising the individual’s opinion, but also the individual themselves. Twitter “trolls” could ultimately destroy this persons self esteem, their reputation and in extreme cases, can have an affect on their career (if their boss happens to see it). Because you must have an account to post, you reveal a lot of personal information about yourself, which can be dangerous and consequential. Social media can also be exclusive. You can create private group conversations in which others on social media cannot see what you discuss.


The media itself, such as the people who own and control these outlets, also have a large voice, and can choose to remove a post or an individuals account. This has a large impact. For example, You-tuber Logan Paul uploaded a video of a man who committed suicide in a Japanese forest, and Youtube did have the power to take it down. However, it was up for 24 hours before Logan himself took the video town, sparking some debate against Youtube and its moderator laws.

More information on Youtube and Logan Paul here:

BBC. 2018. YouTube punishes Logan Paul over Japan suicide video. Available at: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-42644321. [Accessed 10 April 2019].

Social media is a public-sphere that is ever expanding. It is a place I come to and find out what is happening in the world around me. I can choose to have a say and I voice in certain debates, however I choose to keep quiet and be a passive listener most of the time.


2 thoughts on “BCM110: The Media Theory Toolbox

  1. Your introduction clearly defines the concept of the Public Sphere and sets out your post. For a large majority, Social Media would be our Public Sphere, However, it is unfortunate that it is so Grand and has may issues associated with it. I like that you addressed Social Media critically, seeing both its positives and negatives. Another dangerous concept of Social Media is the spread of Fake News, which can be misleading to many content users who are not doing their research, making our Public Sphere almost, ambiguous. I am not a fan of Social Media, for many reasons, one including the impact celebrities and influences have. I would love to hear more about why you think it could be dangerous.


  2. Rachel,
This was a really in-depth revelation about the public sphere! You have focused in on the dangers associated with social media sites — such as the low barrier to entry and also the fact that you do not need to be physically present to participate. This can be both beneficial and also subsequently harmful, especially when concerning issues such as online ‘trolls’ which I think was very important that you brought up. Your understanding of the concept is clearly thorough, and I felt like your post flowed together very nicely with the integration of ‘gifs’. Also, great job for mentioning Logan Paul! That was an excellent example into the potential downfalls of social media platforms!


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