Dictionaries as Online Public Spheres

To start with, public sphere (or public space) which is higlighted and conceptualized by Jürgen Habermas can be described as the areas of interaction within its contributers in fields of political and social issues. To make this notion more dramatized, public spheres are the places like coffee houses in which people gathers and sicuss abut the agenda. However, I believe that, it is not true to limit public spheres as coffee housed. Any place can be a public sphere where people meet and discuss. In this sense, we can include theatres, meetings, formal and informal conventions to the definition. Public sphere plays a significant role in producing public opinion.  

However, as our world grows more global and interconnected, people are now being linked to each other excessively. At this stage, it becomes possible to make some modifications for the definition of public sphere. Hereby, I would like to menion dictionaries which are very popular in our country.  These digital public spheres give chance to people to gather in virtual place and discuss about the agenda. In ‘ekşisözlük’, ‘itüsözlük’ and ‘uludagsözlük’ there are thousands of people interconnected to each other.

Apart from this, can we give Facebook and Twitter as an example of public sphere? My opinion is partly yes and partly no. The reason for this, even though there is an interaction within followers and followed ones, the communication stage is not two step most of the time.  That means, sometimes most people ignore what is shared; sometimes there is a limited space and time to discuss about the agenda which is not sufficient in order to produce public opinion. Nevertheless, these social media tools can be considered as a good way to disseminate the latest topics.

To come back our main concern, dictionaries, they are more likely to be considered as public spheres. In my opinion, virtual world give chance to people to be connected to each other. In recent years, modern social construction gives people almost no chance to meet in large numbers like it is used to be (for example in the ancient Greek gatherings).



– Dahlgren, P. (1995). Television and the Public Sphere: Citizenship, Democracy and the media. London: Sage Publications.

– Habermas, J. (1991). The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society. Massachusetts: MIT Press.

Technology Fosters Citizen Journalism

As mainstream media get more and more controlled by states, governments or owners of them, the need for alternative media channels rises up. Some media owners can manipulate information just to preserve their economical interests or relationships with political parties. Luckily, people have some courageous individuals who aim to disseminate events and news in an objective way.

Citizen journalism is getting more common in time. To define shortly what  citizen journalism is, Rogers indicates that, “put very simply, citizen journalism is when private individuals do essentially what professional reporters do – report information.” In this aspect, we cannot neglect the importance of technology. The reason for this, since citizen journalists does not perform this information reporting job in a proffesional way, they need some tools to disseminate their findings. At this point, they are able to use some video, photo or text-based sharing websites to let others know what is happening. Also. integration of cameras with phones permit these amateur journalists to perform journalism. Thus, they do not need to have a TV channel, newspaper or expensive camera stuff.

With the emergence of smartphones, there are many applications became available for anyone who uses that gadgets. One of these applications, called Guardian Witness, which was released recently, made possible to share almost any information with other users.

Link for Guardian Witness:


However, people can use Instagram, Twitter or Facebook accounts to share information with their followers. If we consider that today almost everyone is connected to the internet consistently, loading and uploading information is easier than ever.

Here is a video about citizen journalism;








Artistic Way of Communication: Advertisement

Some argue that advertising is a type of art. On the other hand, there are many people state that, advertising should be considered as a scientific way of persuasion. However, in my opinion, advertising is a combination of both artistic and scientific components which are combined to persuade people or give information. Furthermore, I see advertisements as a type of alternative media. The reason for this, people can be informed about events by advertisements. Especially those events, which cannot find place for themselves in mainstream channels, for being contradictory to interests of media owners or stakeholders of different companies. In other words, in advertisments there are not only images that aim to persuade people to consume a particular product.

Images can be used to persuade you to stop obeying the status quo, to change your mind for a specific attitude or just make you act for a change. It is easy to draw attention and impress people for advertisements since they are artistic and shocking. Therefore, advertisement is a very effective way of communication to change an attitude, inform people or give information. Below there are some examples for my statements.


3, 2, 1 Record!

Television is an important medium for combining both visual and auditory components. This makes a TV product more interesting and maybe more striking than any other media. In fact, not only TV but also cinema and other types of videos which are available on the internet can be included into this classification.

It is easier to express ideas and emotions since video/film consist on both visual and auditory elements. In this aspect, this medium can be considered as an effective alternative media tool. As Fountain points out “Enabling more people to become active producers has always been one of the primary goals of many alternative media activists.” With some technological developments in film industry, more people found a chance to shoot a movie/video. At the early stages of film industry, equipments were rather expensive and hard to carry with. Developing technologies made these equipments available for any use of manner. By this way, today, anyone can easily shoot a video. However, making film/movie is not the only problem. Another important aspect of this field is distribution. A film or a video could not get much attention without being distributed to people. Thanks to the internet there are many channels available for users to share their work with other people. Many can shoot and share their video through YouTube and other video based websites.

Also mobile phones help people to shoot and share video with others. For example, if someone come across with something strange or interesting that might catch others’ attention, s/he can record it and share in just few seconds. Developing technologies permit individuals to be active producers of video and film sector. In addition, social media platforms let their users be the producer and the consumer at the same time.

In conclusion, film and video have a strong connection with the technology. Surely, not only equipment side but also distribution aspect of movie making has gone further with technological developments. Now, people carry their equipment just in their pocket and share their shootings easily.


– Fountain, A. (2007). Alternative film, video and television 1965-2005. NY: Routledge.

Old Fashion, New Trend: Radio

As a mass communication tool, radio has a great importance for informing people in an accurate way. In comparison with newspaper, most people think that radio is much more credible. The reason for this, with radio, people can listen speeches by hearing speaker’s own voice; this characteristic of radio makes it more credible medium than newspaper. In addition, with radio, news and events could be broadcasted more quickly. Given the fact that a radio channel can sustain it streaming constantly, people can hear about flash news as they happen. These aspects of radio makes it valuable and indispensable medium in the eyes of both audiences’ and publishers’.

Most of the people may think that the internet and the television pushes radio out of audiences’ area of interest. In some ways it is true, because with the developing technology, people can access to the internet no matter where they are. Connecting to the internet became so easy that, when people wish to hear about the latest events, the first place which they look is the internet. However, many people still go on to listen to radio while they drive, cook or work. According to some researches, which were conducted in Turkey, people see radio “as a friend” and 71% of the participants said they listen to radio regularly. In my opinion, the reason that makes radio so popular among audience, is that they can get along with their work while they are listening to radio. According to me this is the most remarkable characteristic of radio; anyone could not be able to  cook, drive or work while s/he is watching television or reading newspaper but, they can do all of these activities while they are listening to radio. That’s to say, radio is still one of the most preferred media among people. Houses without television or the internet connection can keep up with the latest events with radio, instantly. So far, I can summarize radio as a cheap, instant, credible and widespread medium.

Developing technology give people chance to establish their own local radio stations. Hence, people who does not have sufficient funds to establish a television channel can establish a radio station. No doubt that establishing and sustaining a radio station is cheaper than a television channel. For example, in Turkey there are 1087 radio channels and 258 TV channels. However, thanks to the party in power, many radio stations and TV channels are experiencing some problems; their streams are being paused or their channels are being closed. In this sense, the internet comes forward leaving radio behind; because it is hard to monitor and follow the sources of digital publications in contrast with radio or television. Shortly, the internet gives more independence in a strict political environment compared to other types of media.

In conclusion, although the radio can be considered as “old” compared to the newly delevoped technologies, many people still go on to listen to it. With the emergence of television, radio became a little bit disfavored; however, it is one of the indispensable media even in today.


– http://www.rtuk.org.tr/sayfalar/icerikgoster.aspx?icerik_id=a66f3657-d2a8-486c-a1c4-893c583f0c29

– http://www.turkmedya.tv/sector.php?Type=sectorDetail&NewID=26450&SecID=14

Alternative Media

First of all, in order to discuss about alternative media, it is needed to indicate why this type of media are categorized as “alternative”. Name on it, alternative media are the ones which do not belong to mainstream. In this sense we may ask, what is mainstream media and why people need this alternative media concept?

Mainstream media are accepted as they serve to general interests of a society, mainly. However, mainstream media can be used as a manipulative instrument to direct people accordingly to the purposes and intentions of those who have the media tools. Fuchs (2010) points out that “Content and form of traditional media are ideological. Content is strictly defined by what is considered as popular and sellable. The drive for profit can result in a lack of quality, complexity, and sophistication (as e.g. yellow journalism that simplifies reality and is focused on singular examples, emotionalism, and sensationalism)” (p:179).
This shows us that media owners can pick up the news or arrange and edit them accordingly to their intentions and change people’s mind as they want. At this stage, audience could be considered as passive, because they do not take place in choosing their agendas actively; they just take what is given to. On the contrary, alternative media provide space for people to express their ideas in an active way. Not only to express but also to choose what they wish to hear and be informed about.

In my opinion, mainstream media have started to lose importance; correspondingly, alternative media have started to become a major tool to keep up with the latest events. As indicated above, thanks to alternative media tools, people are now able to discuss about the latest events and trends free from mainstream control mechanism. Certainly, developing communication technologies play an important role in this stage; thanks to these technologies, people are now able to contact with each other no matter how far they are (time and space compression). That brings us to the “Global village” concept which was conceptualized by McLuhan. As we know, there is a huge transformation in communication technology. Almost everyone has a smartphone, and these devices provide people chance to stay in contact with each other. These technologies goes hand in hand with software technologies. The last decade, social media become so popular that there are 1 billion of social media users estimated; in other words, there is a huge network of users has been established around the world. Thus, there are no more spatial distance between people. These people share their ideas and opinions for a particular issue with the others just in a second. I can say that, communication technologies allowed Habermas’s “public sphere” concept worldwide. The reason for this, people are so connected to each other that they can discuss about the events without leaving their homes; they are no longer have to meet phisically like it was used to be so in the past.