Public Culture and Social Representations in the Age of the Read/Write Web

A consolidated, propagandized mainstream media, coupled with declining involvement in local community and civic life has lead many to become concerned about America’s democratic foundation. The read/write web revolution has encouraged some visionaries who see it as a catalyst to transform the public sphere and reconfigure the power balance between elites and average citizens. This paper attempts to define public culture in the context of deliberative democracy, political conversation, and American mainstream media, as it examines how social individuals collectively construct their reality. It then looks at the impact of the Internet on this social ecosystem, exploring how such technology might be used to restore a public culture steeped in rich dialogue and effective, participatory deliberation.