Public Sphere: The Blurred Line

The internet has always been a platform where people communicate with each other. In terms of how the media reports headlines onto their websites, to friends conversing over Facebook chat, this channel is likely a new platform where information is sent and received effectively. Over the course of years, it has affected society’s behavior in communication. In short, the public sphere and private space today is blurred due to the constant changing of discourse through the internet.

An actual public sphere, according to Habermas, is groups of only middle class males on par with aristocrats in the 18th century that comes together at a physical space to discuss about issues (McGuigan, 2005). The ideal public sphere however is of both males and females that aims for equality and freedom of expression which was not present during the 18th century. Nevertheless, a public sphere is a concept of an ideal space for the occurrence of a group of people exchanging ideas and information. In addition, the public sphere derives from private issues that moves into a public domain. With that being said, a private space is much more personal that the public sphere. However, how does one distinguish both of this evidently today when the private space has shrunk dramatically with the advancing of internet?

Looking at the case of infamous Vivian Lee and Alvin Tan (Singapore, 2012), a couple who posted pictures and videos on their nudity, came under fire with the officials. It was found that initially, these photos were for private use but was later uploaded onto their personal sites for whoever that came across. Personally, it is hard to understand how a personal matter came to light when it was meant for mere self-expression. Why did such personal matter entered the public sphere with such harsh discourse?

Everything considered, it is clear that the internet as a platform has alter the way people communicate. It has also affected how the public sphere and a private space is distinguish with the presence of the internet, which the blurred line is still unclear.

What do you think?

Can the Private Information Online Private or Has it Turn Public?


McGuigan, J. (2005). The cultural public sphere. Cultural Studies, 427-443.

Singapore, S. (2012, 11 2). Alvin And Vivian Sumptuous Erotica. Retrieved from My Fat Pocket: