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Habermas thinks that the concept of the public sphere is essential for atrue democracy - a democracy that is functioning based on empoweredcitizens that set the political agenda discuss matters of commoninterest and feed their ideas right into the policy making process Hisidealized model of the public sphere based on the bourgeoisie society ofthe 18th century has been discussed and criticized by many scholars Theincreasing diffusion of the internet and social media in the late 90sled to an almost utopian optimism amongst many scholars of the subjectThey predicted that the internet will realize Habermass public spherethat it will enhance democracy by giving everybody a voice providetotal inclusion and solidarity free information without any externalinfluence by the state and or commercial institutions The Global Information Infrastructure GII will in fact promotethe functioning of democracy by greatly enhancing the participation ofcitizens in decision-making I see a new Athenian Age of democracyforged in the fora the GII will create Al Gore 1994In the many to many environment of the net every desktop is aprinting press a broadcasting station and place of assemblyRheingold 1999 cited in Coleman and Blumler 2009 p9Blogs enable anyone with an opinion to be heard Megna 2002 citedin Hindman 2009 p108You too can have a voice in blogland Campbell 2002 cited inHindman 2009 p108In the first part of this essay I will give an overview of Habermasspublic sphere and in the second part I will analyze the ability of theinternet and social media to enhance or create new public spheres Iwill do so by investigating the infrastructure of the internet and fourdifferent types of social media Social networks Facebook social newsReddit Digg etc blogs blogger live-journal and wikisWikipedia Habermass idea of the public sphere was first presentedin his 1962 published book The structural transformation of the publicsphere translated in English in 1989 The book investigates what thesocial conditions for a rational and critical debate amongst individualsare that consequently can be
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