Tedra Osell’s ”What the Trolls Teach Us” first appeared in our Fall/Winter 2007 issue (#69). In the essay, Osell compares the current emphasis on blog interactions with the “enabling fiction” of the Habermasian public sphere.
“The enabling fiction of the public sphere is an illusion, but one with real ideological power. As such, we tend to credit revolutionary changes in mass communication with bringing it about, or at least bringing it closer. In the eighteenth century, it was newspapers and magazines; in the nineteenth, telephones and recording devices; in the twentieth, broadcasting. Now, of course, we’re excited about the internet.