Gatekeeping and their roles towards the public sphere

One-to-many, many-to-many dynamics Credits to Mark Smiciklas

One-to-many and Many-to-many dynamics
Credits to Mark Smiciklas

When we speak of social networks, we never fail to notice how the phrase Gatekeeping intervenes with media across multiple platforms (Jenkins, H. 2008) in the public sphere. Knowingly this theory was made by a social psychologist, Kurt Lewin, in 1943 which addresses the process of  information being filtered for dissemination. This can be found in multiple fields of study including communication, journalism, broad casting, publication, political science and sociology, where it was originally focused on mass media with its few-to-many dynamic. But recently the gatekeeping theory has been developed for face-to-face communication and many-to-many dynamic due to the massive use of Internet. Gatekeeping as it is known occurs at all levels of media construction, from where reporters, individuals, who are also known as gatekeepers, decide which sources are chosen to be included in a story to editors whom decide on which story is to be printed and covered on.

As for network gatekeeping , though the idea might seem almost similar to the original theory, it appears that gatekeepers here are referred to as stakeholders instead. Stakeholders who are allowed to change their gatekeeping roles depending on the stakeholder in which they interact or the context in which they are situated. (Barzilai-Nahon, K, 2008) This way individuals who are gatekeepers, decide on what information to be included in their emails or blogs before posting it up in the Internet. Furthermore due to the idea of this theory, the availability of disintermediation has increased tremendously over the years. Instead of going through traditional distribution channels, or intermediates such as distributor, wholesaler, broker or an agent, organisations now deal with consumers directly via the Internet.

Moreover with the existence of wireless devices, this has allowed ubiquitous connectivity among the people in a wide range. The anytime, anywhere paradigm of wireless connectivity has brought individuals confront other individuals in forms of one-to-many and many-to-many or between an individual and their technological appliances. Students these days are an excellent example as how they are able to participate in lectures while sitting in the university’s cafe, or even submit their assignments while walking to class.

Serving that, over the past decade, academic research shows increasing numbers on issues of multitasking due to communal connectivity provided most places. By multitasking, we notice how it involves engaging in two or more tasks simultaneously. But what most people are not aware of are the conditions to it; where at least one of the task has to be well learned as to be automatic like walking or eating, wherelse the other has to involve different parts of the brain for it to process the activity being carried forward. As an example, you can read and listen to music at the same time because reading comprehension and instrumental processing are engaged to different parts of the brain. (Taylor, J., 2011) In fact, there is an arguement claiming how users rather than engaging themselves in simultaneous tasks, are in fact shifting from one task to another in a rapid succession. Apparently people whom are labelled as multitaskers are actually just serial tasking,  instead.


Jenkins, H. 2008, ‘Introduction: “Worship at the Altar of Convergence”, New York University Press, accessed on 25/5/2014,

Barzilai-Nahon, K. 2008, Toward a Theory of Network Gatekeeping: A Framework for Exploring Information Control, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, accessed on 25/5/2014,

Taylor, J. 2011, Myth of Multitasking, Hearst Seattle Media, LLC, accessed on 25/5/2014,





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