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There has always been a clear distinction between private and public space. There are certain acts you do inside a private sphere that you do not do within the public sphere, example you may enjoy sitting on the lounge watching TV in your underwear in the middle of summer this is something you would only do in the privacy of your own home. If you were to walk into JB HI FI and sit in their television demonstration areas in your underwear in most cases you would be escorted off the premises.
The same principle applies to your online presence their are many online activities you undertake that you wish to keep private, such as sharing photos of your children to your family perhaps whom live a significant distance away. Though through new online social conventions it is now common to share your private images once only shared between family members online. This has even extended to the sharing of explicit sexual photos, which in recent reports explicit sexual photos are actually a large percentage of the photo sharing site instagram.
West, Lewis and Currie 2009 * stated that presently there is no clear distinction between public and private sphere due to current communication often being primarily through internet websites. Online communication they argue has created a ‘fuzziness’ in what is now private and public. West, Lewis and Currie 2009 use the example of Facebook to demonstrate the current blurred lines between the two spheres. In their study they found that students did not accept their parents on Facebook to keep their page private and so as to not be embarrassed. Though what appeared was they considered their private sphere to be their friends on Facebook even though everything they post is accessible due to the relatively public feature on facebook and as West, Lewis and Currie 2009 found the varying attitudes towards friendships which has stemmed form FaceBook, especially with individuals looking for potential friendships. Therefore, providing these potential friends with what they believe is their private media on their Facebook page. Thus, you can say that this media platform is very public and they are now sharing their usually private activities to the public sphere. Clear evidence that the line between public and private is definitely blurred in regards to social media also evident to the response by the students in West, Lewis and Currie 2009 study which found that these students did not understand the notion of their being two distinct realms of private and public.
Clearly our once definition of private and public is altering due to our use of online media. These two realms are converging and creating -the next generation as shown through West, Lewis and Currie 2009 do not understand that these two realms are distinctively different.
*West A, Lewis J, Currie P 2009, ‘Students’ Facebook ‘friends’: public and private spheres, Journal of Youth Studies, vol. 12, no. 6, pp. 615-627.