In simple terms, a public sphere is the place where each of us finds out what is happening within our own social, cultural and political environments. It is where we discuss the issues that are facing us, and where we engage with those issues.
After much thought, I most closely relate with Youtube to be my public sphere. Youtube is a platform where anyone around the world is able to upload, share, comment on, and/or like a video of whatever they desire. The website is largely used to watch content such as educational videos, music videos, pop culture based videos, and video bloggers (vloggers). Youtube allows everyone to connect with one another on a deeper level through sharing interests.
I think there are several issues that Youtube has dealt with over the past years, but a major issue and concern with Youtube is, that anyone is able to gain access to their videos. Some of which may be deemed inappropriate for some ages, by including gore, course language, etc. Although the website does have an 18+ restriction on some of their videos, no proof of age is required when signing up for an account, meaning users are able to fake their age to be older than what they really are.
As Youtube is free, and makes money off their ads watched by users, it makes it available for anyone to view. This creates inclusivity throughout their website. However, most videos have a ‘target audience’ they wish to cater to. For example, a beauty vlogger, like Jeffree Star with over 14 million subscribers, targets mainly younger people who are into makeup and fashion. This is generally the same for all types of Youtubers including: gaming channels, family vloggers, daily vloggers, pranking channels, sports channels, and much more.
The role of media plays a big role in the type of content that is being uploaded by these influential people. Most creators wish to keep up with the times, so they post videos that are relevant to today’s culture. This intrigues viewers and pushes them to watch more.
Two interesting clips I found on Youtube that further explain public spheres are Habermas: The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere and Who are the Public? Public Sphere, Opinions, Moods & History. Both are extremely informative if you wish to explore this topic in greater detail.