The Private Sphere

Notes from The Private Sphere by Zizi Papacharissi

I have been reading the section: The networked self and the culture of remote connectivity

The private sphere is a place where a citizen who wishes to  function civically and communicate with others.It does so without the need of a public space that compromise the flexibility of the private sphere, The private sphere is established through the form of the home or workplace, which allows the individual to multi task by doing other things as well a social pastime activity.

Papacharissi suggests that the private sphere does not mean the individual is disconnected, instead it enabled connectivity from the spaces that the individual the individual views as private. She gives examples of people watching events in bars and stadiums, saying that these public areas simultaneously connect people through a shared experience of viewing, which interrupts any immediate spheres of conversation and sociality outside of the broadcast.

Online convergent technologies are like a private sphere in a similar spatial context of distance and proximity. These produce narrative, political and social meaning for the individual. these private spheres connect remotely but they may also disconnect locally. She argues that online convergent technologies, especially online social networks which are also forms of social multitasking, cancel out local disconnection. Online social networks allow individual to connect to local and remote family members, friends and strong and weaker social ties.It is through this association with others that civic identity is made reality. She suggest that social networks support and maintain existing and new social ties. It is also an expansion of communicative channels that individuals use.

The private sphere gives individuals the comfort convenient tools  of for self-representation that are relaxed and rehearsed. Therefore the social utility of the private sphere has three purposes: multiplies potential audiences that an individual may communicate with, allows individual to sustain this contact in a private public and public private space and affording presentation of the self within a mediated environment. Multiplied audiences area accessed through public display of friends. When joining a social networking service an individual must claim an identity which is usually their actual one, which is validated by establishing social connections to registered friends. I agree with this to a certain extent, however I think that sometimes this identity may become an exaggerated and/or extended form of our own identity, or we create new ones slightly based on ourselves and other times we create a completely different one. Online some people maybe more talkative and social but in real life they quiet and reserved, you could say that their online identity is an extension or another side to the individual. Having other registered friends does not necessarily mean validation of the online identity as you could still get away with new one, which maybe similar to your actual one.

“Its is also not uncommon for users to compete for who posses the most friends or who is connected to the most coveted friends, or friends/acquaintances with celebrity status, as a way of communicating social standing (Cassidy 2006;  Slotnik 2007)” I agree with this as I also think that this leads to an addiction and obsession with popularity and fame online, leading people to constantly be logged in to update their friends/followers and also do activities which sustains these relationships as well as create new ones. For example posting regularly on Instagram and adding popular hashtags- this gets you more followers and likes and it means you are at the top of the existing followers/friends’ timeline.

“Individuals join SNSs and share information despite privacy concerns (Acquisti & Gross  ) while some recognise the compromising of private information but do not possess the tools or know how to amend it (Papacharissi and Mendelson 2010)” I partly agree with this but on most social networking websites there are now tutorials which inform you on how to change privacy settings and importance of have them. You will also normally see these when you first sign up to a social networking service. I do think that some of the people who choose to ignore them may be chasing the internet fame dream, which is why they are willing to share with everyone.


Papacharissi, Zizzi A. (2010). Five New Civic Habits. In: A Private Sphere: Democracy in a Digital Age. Cambridge: Polity. pp138-150


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