Open Educational Resources
Social Media, the Public Sphere and the Marginalisation of a New Minority in Nigeria


The social media frenzy is fact and part-fiction, and response across boundaries continue to showcase a phenomenon better deconstructed within the framework of its dizzying reshaping of a dynamic communication ecology. This paper is a continuation of the interrogation of assumptions about the capacities of social media, starting with the aborted Frivolous Petitions and Other Matters Connected Therewith Bill’ referred to as the “anti-social media bill”, sponsored by Deputy Senate Majority Leader, Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah. It establishes the technology-driven facilitation of social interactions suggesting unbounded inclusiveness and political mobilisation capacities - boosted by the “Facebook Revolution”, by which the Arab Spring, especially its Egyptian component was labelled. The evolution of the Internet, enabling virtual communities in fulfilment of the vision of the creator of the World Wide Web, has witnessed variable evidence of both positive and negative impacts across countries and cultures. This provided a context for a focus on the public sphere as conceived by Jurgen Habermas, democratisation and issues of access, and interaction and participation elaborated by the likes of Nico Carpentier. The reality of deliberative and the discursive democracy outlined from the work John Dryzek provide further basis for the scrutiny of issues around marginalisation and its variants, and a new minority.

The paper isolates elements that define the marginalisation which signpost a new minority in Nigeria, and raise questions about the reality of the inclusiveness of social media and its potential or capacity as instrument of power for the minority. It flags the required caution in interpreting such potential and capacity exclusively as probably interpretable as equivalent to the reality of the actualised dream of the public sphere, or as defining a paradigm shift for resolving the contestations in democratising Nigeria. Digital and media literacy are integral and a component of the required holistic legal, policy and operational framework for addressing identified issues.


Key Words: Social media, new minority, marginalisation, public sphere

BY: Nosa Owens-Ibie
CATEGORY: journal or article
TAGS: Social Media,Public Sphere,Marginalisation,New Minority

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