It is not uncommon that the corporate social media platforms are treated more and more as the new public sphere(s) of mediatized political communication. Yet, as Jillian C. York rightfully asks, why do we insist on assigning for-profit social networking media the role of the public space, when in reality “online social spaces standing in for the public sphere are private ones, owned by billionaires and shareholders”?
Starting from this specific question, and following towards more general issue of the digital democracy, this presentation engages into the dissection of relationship between commercial social media and the public sphere debate from the three perspectives: a) perspective of technologies used within the development of these platforms; b) perspective of users of these media; and c) perspective of social media companies. Looking at the original Habermasian interpretation of the public sphere; and connecting it with Christian Fuchs’ politico-economical critiques this presentation thus explores the limits of treatment of corporate social networking platforms as working public sphere - as especially evident in Pew Research Center’s November 2013 research report “News Use across Social Media Platforms” which findings state that more than half of commercial social networking media users obtain their daily news only through these electronic platforms - with the reddit, Twitter and Facebook users leading this trend in an uncompetitive manner.
Taking into consideration the economic model of corporate social media, based on constant surveillance of users and the big data analysis of their activities for the purposes of targeted advertising, presentation aims to further on contribute and tackle into the re-questioning and conceptualizing of the dynamics that (might or might not) “yield a cosmopolitan Self and an encapsulated Self” - following 2014 article of Christensen and Jansson.
Zagreb, Croatia, 2015.
CEECOM 2015 The 8th Central and Eastern European Media and Communication Conference "The Digital Media Challenge", Zagreb (Croatia) 12-14 June 2015.