What is a public? Where do we get our ideas about what publics can or should be? How do you find, engage and grow your public?
This week we focused on the topic of Publics and Counter Publics. As a brief description, the term public can be defined as elements that “shift the normal industrial emphasis on the manufacturing and distribution aspects to the idea of publication as a social and political act (Norman, 2020, Week 6 Lecture Slides). In Warner’s reading (2002), he defined a public as the social space created by the reflective circulation of discourse.
Ultimately, this suggests that any and all media meant to incite social interactions between others could have its own public. This got me thinking of the popular social media platform known as TikTok. I had been using the site for about 6 months until I stopped creating content on it. During my time using the app, I noticed that aside from the ‘for you’ page, there was a sense of totality, bounded by the event or by shared interests. Creators of the app made it easy and simple for users to find categories and videos they wanted to see through curated subsections. In these subsections, the app featured top creators who had made a video relating to that specific topic.