The public sphere has been subject to dramatic changes throughout many centuries; Where today technology mediated communication has long replaced the coffeehouse discourse and the matter of commodification threatening the freedom of information and the public’s opinion.
Earlier on this year London transport passed the law that meant every bus will have a cash free system and every person has an obligation to purchase an Oyster card which requires you to tap in on the bus when travelling around the city. This caused mixed opinions through out the social media, particularly Twitter however twitter wasn’t only used for people to express their outlet for this new regulation, but it was also used immensely to disperse the news of the upcoming change in the city, where by many including myself found out firsthand. Which brings forward the question, to how far have open networks decentralised power compared to how it was many centuries ago.
….”come on Boris, Oyster’s not the cheapest way to pay, we’ve been mislead’; It seems that whether or not we’re right, the media has opened our eyes to many things whereby voicing our opinions in private spheres had given us free and open discourse.
However saying this, what we consider as our private media may not be as private as we think. Although we are not being physically watched and we do not perceive ourself as being watched, we go about our business whilst our database selves are assembled and evaluated( Simon 2005:17) . Can twitter also be controlling us in some way or form? Perhaps, as in spite of the freedom we supposedly have, many of us attempt to conform to what it takes to become popular on a social networking site- by this I mean when tweeting something it has to interest your followers in order to receive a plethora of re-tweets which follows on to you becoming popular on the site. Hence why I believe that although many of us may be concerned about the current affair with london’s public transport there is also a numerous amount of people who do it for popularity, which concludes my point that we may be controlled by social media more than we want to believe. Disciplinary power.
We are in a ‘panopctial’ situation where by we are not fully aware that we are being observed but we conform of what is asked from us.
Moreover whilst Oyster cards (cash free payments) permit us to travel around London as we please there is still an aspect of power as we are following the way the wish for us to to behave. The relationship between us human being and Non human beings is manipulated, though we see this as a way of freeing ourselves from the control we had through the century of the coffeehouse discourse, we as individuals are assembled into this type of power through both actively exercising and internalising it (London buses or mobile prisons. 2013) . The fundamental reason for this act of disciplinary power is to generate obedient and docile individuals, which by the end results in becoming a way of self policing.
Foucault M (2012) Discipline and Punishment. Knopf Doubleday Publishing
London Buses or Mobile prisons (2013) . Available from: http://nf.vse.cz/wp-content/uploads/Šarapatka.doc [Accessed 9 November 2014]
UIC Theory (2012). Available from: http://uicsocialtheory.weebly.com/foucault/previous/7 [ Accessed 9 November 2014]
Twitter (2014). Available from: https://mobile.twitter.com [Accessed 9 November 2014]