A digital public sphere:

Just in theory or a perceived reality for users of social network sites?


  • Hilde Sakariassen University of Bergen




Public deliberation, Social network sites, social media, public sphere, public space


Social network sites (SNS) have the potential of providing new and more egalitarian spaces for public deliberation, and researchers, media and politicians often discuss them in those terms. Still, little attention is given to how ordinary users perceive SNS as spaces for public deliberation. This study addresses this gap by investigating how SNS generally are perceived by the users as potential spaces for public deliberation and if this perception is conditioned by demographic characteristics, such as age, gender, level of education, use of Twitter, and activity in SNS. The study draws on users of SNS in a nationally representative survey from Norway (N=1699). The results show signifi cant diff erences in the perception of SNS as spaces for public deliberation according to both demographic characteristics and activity. More importantly, even if people are aware of SNS being portrayed as spaces for public deliberation, few are found to use them in such a way.


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How to Cite

Sakariassen, H. (2020). A digital public sphere:: Just in theory or a perceived reality for users of social network sites?. MedieKultur: Journal of Media and Communication Research, 36(68), 126–146. https://doi.org/10.7146/mediekultur.v36i68.118440



Articles: Open section