The role of blogging in public deliberation and democracy
Faculty of Education and Arts
School of Communication and Arts/Centre for Research in Entertainment, Arts, Technology, Education and Communications
Contending that media users are more than self-interested consumers and that the public sphere media can achieve more in the public sphere than simply meet market demand, our mission in this paper is to show how some public sphere media-specifically such fora as weblogs or blogs-may in fact be able to fulfil democratic public sphere responsibilities of enabling deliberative exchange. More specifically, through a consideration of three Australian politically-focused blogs-Larvatus Prodeo (group-authored blog), Andrew Bolt (sole-authored blog by a conservative commentator), and Andrew Bartlett (sole-authored blog by a former Australian Democrats Senator)-we argue that such fora can indeed inform and enable the public sphere deliberation important for democracy. We found that although blog participants might not evidently come to rational and consensual agreements, they are debating issues of public concern, and can take part in exchanges that facilitate deliberation. In our conception, deliberation is not necessarily invalidated by either the lack of any tangible outcome, or the fact that any outcomes reached are only partial and contingent, open to revision. What is rather important is the practice and procedure of deliberation performed without stringent regulation by pre-set endpoints other than that of deliberation itself.