Sosyal Medyanın Kamusal Alan Temsiliyeti Üzerine Bir TartışmaSinan Gümüş
Modern çağla beraber bireyler ve toplumlarda yaşanan kültürel değişimler bazı kavramların yeniden yorumlanmasını gerekli kılmıştır. Bu kavramlardan biri de Jurgen Habermas’ın geliştirdiği kamusal alandır. Halkın bilgiyi ve farklı görüşlerini ifade edebileceği bir alan olarak tanımlanabilecek kamusal alanın sosyal medya ile olan benzerliği sosyal medyanın yeni bir kamusal alan olabileceği fikrinin gelişmesine sebep olmuştur. Fakat bu yeni dijital alan ile kamusal alan arasında kurulmuş olan analojik ilişki, son yıllarda özellikle siyasal iletişim alanında yeni tartışma konuları yaratmış, sosyal medyanın kamusal alanın içerdiği karakteristik özellikleri ne kadar taşıdığı konusunda akademik tartışmalar gelişmiştir. Sosyal medya ve kamusal alan arasında gerçekleşen ilişkinin yüzeyselliği irdelendiğinde bireyin sosyal medya ile geliştirdiği katılımcı eğilimin; sosyal medyanın ifade özgürlüğü ve demokrasinin toplumsal paradigma içerisinde güçlenmesini sağlayan heterojen bir sosyolojik fenomen olarak değerlendirilmesini sağladıysa da bu yeni medyanın neoliberal normlar, kurallar ve iktidarlarla kurduğu ilişki düşünüldüğünde kamusal alanın reel-politik içerisindeki etkisine karşın sosyal medyanın simüle edilmiş, tasarlanmış bir evren olarak modern birey davranışlarını yorumlamada farklı bakış açıları yarattığı görülebilir. Bu anlamda sosyal medyanın kamusal alanla kesiştiği noktalar karşılaştırmalı betimsel analiz yöntemi ile incelenmiş, sosyal medyanın yeni bir kamusal temsiliyet yaratma ihtimalinin varlığı tartışmaya açılmıştır.
A Discussion on the Public Sphere’s Representation of Social MediaSinan Gümüş
The cultural changes individuals and societies in the modern era have experienced necessitate the reinterpretation of certain concepts, one of these being the public sphere as developed by Jurgen Habermas (1989). The public sphere can be defined as a space where the public are able to express information and different opinions, and its similarities to social media has led to the development of the idea that social media could be considered a new public sphere. However, the analogical relationship established between this new digital space and the public sphere has created new topics of discussion in recent years, especially in the field of political communication, with academic debates also having developed on the extent to which social media carries the characteristics of the public sphere. When examining the superficiality of the relationship between social media and the public sphere, the participatory tendency individuals develop with social media can be seen to have enabled social media to be evaluated as a heterogeneous sociological phenomenon that strengthens freedom of expression and democracy within the social paradigm. However, when considering the relationship this new media has with neoliberal norms, rules, and powers, one can see that social media creates different perspectives regarding interpreting modern individual behavior as a simulated, designed universe, despite the impact the public sphere has on realpolitik. In this sense, the study analyzes the points where social media intersects with the public sphere using the comparative descriptive analysis method and opens the possibility of social media creating a new public representation to discussion.
One of the popular debates of this period is that the public sphere, which took place in the form of agora in the ancient Greek period and the forum in the Roman period, has recently developed in parallel with social media. The concept of the public sphere, which Jurgen Habermas (1989) defined as a space where the public can express information and different opinions, and the question of whether social media is a new public sphere, which has drawn academic attention to the similarities between the two due to the structure of technology and the respective development of social media, has transformed into a field of discussion within the frameworks of communication sociology and political communication. Social media at first glance was interpreted as an exciting technological development and was able to also be interpreted as a new libertarian space where ideas can be discussed, participatory democracy can develop, and individuals can communicate and share without the limitations of distance, which is one of the most fundamental doctrines of freedom of expression. Although the development of social media has created a new space where individuals can express themselves and reflect their identities, the extent to which this cyberspace carries the qualities of the public sphere is a matter of current debate. Over time, the development of the Internet, the spread of smartphones, and the lowering costs of communication technologies have enabled modern individuals to adapt more easily to the social media space, and the virtual world that developed in this way has created an important social paradigm regarding understanding and interpreting individual behavior. Although the architectural structure of the Internet and its technical and technological approaches has been stated to strengthen individuals’ democratic tendencies through participatory and interactive behavior, Facebook, Twitter, and other similar global social media apps that act within the framework of neoliberal rules and have the status of private companies for profit, are seen to position the individuals these companies describe as users within this virtual space and within the framework of the rules they determine, thus limiting the qualities of social media as a public space. The tendencies the status quo owners and the powers that be have toward controlling conventional media in the public sphere is clearly similar to the tendencies status quo owners and the powers that be developed have had for controlling conventional media in the public sphere in the past, and the control status quo owners and the powers that be exert over social media in terms of its structure, which has progressively replaced conventional media in recent times, has clearly created corruption in the context of individual freedoms. In general, the extent to which individuals can act outside of the status quo in this social media structure where users are commoditized along with their content as productive consumers has been a matter of debate. From this point onward, the strengthening of psychosocial behaviors such as censorship and self-censorship, especially in the context of freedom of expression, have been observed in individuals, individuals who are monitored, controlled, and examined and whose data are collected with hegemonic tendencies. Another detail that needs to be examined in depth involves how likely individuals are to encounter different ideas most of the time by making an effort, especially when individuals’ posts regarding likes and their following tendencies are shown to be analyzed by social media companies through data analysis and collection methods over and over again through advertisements or planned posts; those who do not attempt to encounter different ideas only hear their own voice in an echo chamber, thus spending their time in an area that does not comply with the principles of public space at all. At the same time, social media can also be seen to have turned into a source of information that possesses manipulative qualities and disinformation, a source where some circles share inaccurate information in order to create a mass sphere of effect. However, despite all these negative aspects, an electronic agora can also be seen to have emerged that discusses issues on the agenda and has art, ideas, and politics as part of its content-sharing dynamic. In this space where different identities are visible and organized, digital activism and alternative media searches are also seen to have become important fulcrums in the development of democratic consciousness. The global or individual impact of social media as a simulated and designed universe has formed one of the most significant social changes presently. Many thinkers argue that this new phenomenon has accelerated communication and organization and that Twitter in particular has played a leading role in organized movements against the status quo. Nevertheless, many other thinkers also argue social media to have characteristics that dampen or pacify anti-government movements on the streets and that create the sense in individuals that only reactions shown on social media can be sufficient, as well as social media to be a much more suitable sphere of influence for governments to use. This study has evaluated all these different ideas using comparative descriptive analysis in this framework and analyzed in detail the intersections where social media and the public sphere meet.