Twitter as a veritable Public Sphere: A Habermasian Perspective on the #EndSARS Protests
ABSTRACT: Following widespread use of social media to raise awareness and aggregate public opinion during the EndSARS protests in Nigeria, this paper discusses the status of Twitter as the epitome of the Habermasian public sphere. The paper argues that Twitter has become a veritable public space, in the mode of the Habermasian public sphere, playing host to enlightened citizens, journalists, activists, politicians, government functionaries and agencies, the international community and the media. The conversations and discourse that trend on Twitter go on to form public opinion, set the agenda for what the traditional and other social media focus on and, consequently, influence society. As a nascent public sphere, Twitter in Nigeria has become a space for public opinion formation, agenda-setting, and mobilisation of social action, elements necessary for enhancing participatory democracy.
Keywords: Twitter, Public Opinion, Public Sphere, #EndSARS, Social Media, Participatory Democracy, Habermas.