The public sphere is an area of social life where individuals can gather in order to rationally discuss and identify societal problems, as well as debate on public affairs. It is a sphere that liaises between society and state, this is where the public assembles itself as the possessor of public opinion. In accordance to the reading, public opinion only comes about when the reasoning behind public opinion is presupposed.
Despite being aware of the public sphere being a forum for rational discussion, to me it is obvious that the contemporary public sphere leans more towards the social media avenue of communication The emergence of the ability to mould our media diets is usually carried out via social media. In more simple terms, the content we like is acknowledged by the social media website (Facebook newsfeed, Twitter newsfeed, for example) and news that is in line with our way of thinking and caters to our likes and dislikes is what comes up as we are browsing the websites. However, this is a limitation in itself as not everyone had access to social media websites because of the lack of Internet access. As a result of this, the opinions of the people without Internet, third world countries for example, are not being taken into account in terms of the public sphere being a forum for open public opinion.
Say the lack of Internet is not a problem, and an old couple has good facilities in the home, it cannot be guaranteed that the couple would know how to use the Internet or even the social media sites. This is where the older generation misses out on being a part of the public sphere.
However, no Internet is not the end of the world. Other forms of media, such as magazines, are another avenues for open discussion.
First of all, the pitching process was a way of pitching content ideas into the panels’ minds. For example, we pitched the idea of a gender neutral feminist magazine and spoke about the issues, good and bad surrounding the idea. As we made the pitch very thought provoking, a discussion arose with the panel members.
The content in magazines are actually thoughts that are injected into the audiences mind, but it can vary from light hearted content to serious issues. S Mag has a fair mixture of light hearted features and thought provoking copy. Whatever ideas the audience take from the magazines will automatically be fixated in their minds, which leads to them expressing their developed ideas from the magazine to other people. All in all, the magazine becomes a forum for public opinion, a public sphere.