This week’s discussion about publics really reminded me of how many different “publics” a certain person can belong to. I never really thought of myself as being part of specific ‘publics’, it just seemed so natural that certain groups with interests would drift together by themselves. So, the discussion this week was particularly useful in helping me figure out: what publics did I belong to?
What I found particularly useful was the Venn diagram of Houston, Dallas, etc. It showed how many areas people can overlap in, particularly how some areas overlap with some topics but not others. It was surprising how many sub-groups existed in a seemingly homogenous group of people with generally similar interests.
I definitely find that I’m part of many different publics, partly because of how few barriers there are to a certain public, and how easy it is to drift from one to another.
This is particularly true for my blog. For example, my blog has been featuring topics that I feel can be interesting to readers, regardless of what specific area they cover. Without even considering future articles, I already have stories involving cars, space travel, food, social experiments – things that overlap many different topics.
Effectively what I’ve been doing is building bridges between different publics, as noted in one of our readings. It’s a kind of social space that tries to broaden the dialogue by bringing in many different topics and genres and holding their attention. Although I don’t believe that I’m fostering any counterpublics, I suppose there are groups that are against leisure, or against spending more time on the internet, who may be resistant to the messaging that I’m conveying in my blog.
In terms of my personal life, there are definitely some publics that I’m a part of.
One notable public that I could say I belong to is fan base around green technology, particularly electric cars. Ever since Telsa started rolling vehicles off the assembly line and the first Nissan Leafs began appearing on the street, I’ve been following their developments relatively closely. There is definitely a following in the regard; many other blogs and reviewers focus solely on green vehicles and keeping up with the latest new vehicles.
However, there could be a bit of a counter public as well, particularly among people who are big fans of performance cars and traditional engines. Electric cars naturally don’t have the same kind of feel as a gasoline engine, or the same kind of performance, which are some of the main sticking points. There are also people who find performance cars to be part of their hobby as well, something that they can work on during the weekends in their garage.
Nonetheless, this is a great exercise to get us thinking about what kind of publics we belong too, because there are definitely plenty of crossovers between different groups, more so than we think.
Knowing these publics could help us think about who our website is for, and who we are in our personal lives.
Peer Review Response
Since I didn’t have the opportunity to respond in my process post last week, I just wanted to tag on a little end to my post this week. I’m very glad of all the advice that was given to me by Genevieve and the generous feedback she gave about my site. It’s always nice to hear from someone else’s perspective, to know what works and doesn’t work based on what I have so far.
I’ve certainly noted down some items that they recommended to change about my blog. The header is definitely something that I want to change up – it was one of my original design choices before fleshing everything out, and it may need a bit of an update. Probably I’ll be replacing the image with a different one and adjusting the positioning of some items so they fit better.
Some of the descriptions as well, I’m planning to revisit them to see if they are still up to date. I wrote most of them early on in the first few weeks, so it would be worth it to revise some of them now that I have a more solid foundation and direction of where I’m taking the site.