Socially Mediated Publicness

“Socially mediated publicness” generally refers to the manner in which social media is changing the nature of the public, and the way in which people use social media in an attempt to create public identities for themselves and the others. Social media has challenged both private and public domains of human lives, and it currently determines the boundaries of certain problems. It has largely transformed the people’s manner to engage in a public life. New types of audiences/communities are emerging at the moment due to availability and easy access to social media platforms (Baym & Boyd, 2012). The traditional notion of social networks has also been changed. The lives of many people who are constantly online have been shaped by or become dependent on social media, hence creating interactions which have altered the boundaries of people’s online and offline lives. These trends led to the emergence of the concept of “socially mediated publicness.” Based on Baym and Boyd’s research (2012), socially mediated publicness refers to the transformation of public identities through social media, and it requires various mechanisms such as ease of accessibility, quasi-public qualities, and social mediation skills.

The authors mention that the recent trends created the need for various skills and mechanisms. One mechanism is the new rate at which individuals are now able to access broadcast media. In particular, social media technology enabled the accessibility and numerous ways to channel the information which have been unknown before. When people choose to share information on social media platforms, which facilitate quick spread of information, the information can easily go viral because of the rate of access and platforms that allow quick spread of information. Apart from that, social media has quasi-public qualities which act as a mechanism to facilitate publicity. It has enabled the creation of safe identities courtesy of its quasi-public qualities to make them share various news, discuss daily hobbies and civic practices, narrate their stories and even offer servicers (Baym & Boyd, 2012). The quasi-public qualities refer to the ease of use, navigation, and access of different publics. As such, social media has caused the creation of different avenues that are utilized by people, hence resulting in a concoction of publics, social arrangements, and counter-publics. The skills the authors mention refer to the ability of people to leverage social media technologies to achieve their own objectives and use public media to present their public identities in favorable light. The authors also accentuate the skill of social mediation that enables people to bridge the gap between the private and the public via social media technologies.

Socially mediated publicness has created a scenario when everyone is either a potential speaker or audience. Personally, I have more often been audience than a speaker. I have experienced a situation when sharing all kinds of material becomes normal because people express themselves through such sharing. Apart from that, social media can be used to promote one’s skills. For example, various artworks have renewed their popularity in social media (Daer, 2014). Even photographs that were made traditionally using film can be posted on such platforms as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The photographs may trend again, receiving a lot of likes and comments, thus giving the owner new publicity that he/she had never had before. The same has happened to old songs that people upload on YouTube. The rate at which information is shared is alarming (Boyd, 2012). For instance, in academic context, the instructors upload his/her work to a site so that the students could be able to use it, leave their comments, and ask questions.

In conclusion, a person’s skills of using social media on a daily basis greatly determine how successful he/she will be in achieving the objectives aligned with socially mediated publicness. Increased availability of social media platforms requires new skills and mechanisms of control. Networked technologies have further complicated the social dynamics.


Baym, N. & Boyd,D. (2012). “Socially mediated publicness: An introduction.” Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, 56(3), 320-329.

Boyd, D. (2012). “The politics of ‘real names’: Power, context, and control in networked publics.” Communications of the ACM, 55(8), 29-31. 

Daer, A. R. (2014). Because community. In E. Finn (Ed.),Sprint Beyond the Book, vol. 2: Knowledge Systems.