(01/12/2022)AAA- Revue Communication and the Public: The Platformation and Transformation of the Digital Public Sphere

Journal Editors

Yi-Hui Christine Huang, City University of Hong Kong

Yu Hong, Zhejiang University

Responsible Journal Associate Editor of the Special Issue

Zhao Alexandre Huang, Université Paris Nanterre

Guest Editors

Ming Xie,, West Texas A&M University

Chin-Chung Chao,, University of Nebraska at Omaha


Mobile app-based communication has developed and evolved drastically in the world. The diversity of social media platforms prompts new studies regarding the integration of social media platforms and sociopolitical contexts. Nowadays, people commonly utilize multiple social media platforms to meet different needs in different contexts. The concept of platform society describes the platformation of society all over the world (van Dijck & Poell, 2015). TikTok and Instagram have been the fastest-growing platforms. On the one hand, global platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp have been the widely used social media platforms worldwide. On the other hand, there has been a trend of localization regarding mobile communication. The majority of Chinese use WeChat, while LINE is popular in Japan and Taiwan, and KakaoTalk has a major following in South Korea. Also, new apps have emerged in other countries such as Indonesia’s Go-Jek, Philippine’s Chikka, Vietnam’s Zalo. 

The platformation and localization of social media reflect the social, cultural, economic, and political implications of mobile communication. “The systems, arrangements, and values in which platforms are immersed shape platform logics and effects” (Sherman & Siravo, 2020, p. 1). For example, the platform’s policy of privacy, user data, and information protection are associated with state regulation and culture. Also, the operation and management of social media platforms might prioritize the owner companies’ profit-seeking purpose. Jin (2013) analyzed the most used Internet platforms and found that most of them were run by for-profit organizations and utilized the targeted advertising capital business model. Moreover, the divergent social affordances of those platforms may facilitate different modes and infrastructures of communication and thus have distinct implications for the public sphere.

Diverse social media platforms have significantly influenced the development of civil society and the public sphere by creating “sustainable channels for public dialogue with the state and other opportunities to influence the policy in urgent areas” (Fedorenko & Sun, 2016, p. 2099). Specific examples from different countries with different political institutions and contexts have experienced success in social media campaigns, such as the Arab Springs, Egypt’s Tahrir Square Protests, Iceland’s Kitchenware Revolution, Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution, and online movements Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, #MeToo, and Stop Asian Hate. These events presented opportunities to study how public spheres are created on various social media platforms and thus promote critical discourse and political and social change.

Questions are raised regarding (1) how the various characteristics of social media platforms shape alternative structures of public spheres? (2) Whether and how social media platforms create alternative structures of public spheres by encouraging broader participation in various social and political contexts? Therefore, this special issue recognizes the contextual uniqueness of sociopolitical factors and integrates a comparative perspective to promote context-specific understanding regarding the impact of social media platforms on the public sphere. We invite scholars to explore the following questions with an emphasis on the diversity of social media platforms and the transformation of the public sphere in various contexts:

  • How are social media platforms embedded in social, political, economic, and cultural contexts?
  • How have social media platforms changed the cultural and social norms in various contexts?
  • What is the distinguishing feature of the social media-based public sphere in different contexts?
  • How are social issues and political debates framed on social media platforms?
  • How do social media platforms create a new space between personal life and the state authority?
  • How do social media platforms facilitate public deliberation in different countries?

The scope of this special issue includes all countries and regions worldwide, while the preference is given to studies on the global south and developing countries, especially cross-cultural comparative studies. Both qualitative and quantitative approaches are welcome in this submission. Also, in addition to the most studied platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, we strongly encourage studies on understudied social media platforms that are popular in various countries.

Submission Procedure

Submissions must not have been previously published nor be under consideration by another publication. Potential contributors should email the guest editors ( AND by December 1, 2022.

  • An extended abstract (up to 800 words) identifying your study’s central research questions(s), specific research method(s) and theories used, and findings or projected findings
  • Complete contact details of the corresponding author (name/title/institution affiliation/contact information)
  • Contributors biographic information 

Authors will be notified by December 20, 2022. If the extended abstract is accepted, the complete manuscript must be received by April 1, 2023.

Full manuscripts should be prepared in accordance with Communication and the Public’s submission guideline, and submitted through the journal’s submission site Please indicate the submission is for this special issue. All manuscripts will go through a thorough double-blind peer review process, and the authors will be notified of the final acceptance/rejection decision.

Please direct questions to the CTP special issue guest editors: Ming Xie and Chin-Chung Chao

Tentative Timeline

  • Extended abstracts submission: December 1, 2022
  • Full draft invitations and rejection notifications: December 20, 2022
  • Full paper submission: April 1, 2023
  • First round peer review comments send to contributors: June 1, 2023
  • Submission of revised full paper: July 1, 2023
  • Second round of peer review send to authors: August 1, 2023
  • Submission of the second round of revision: September 1, 2023
  • Final acceptance/rejection decisions: September 15, 2023
  • Special issue publication online first: Starting from October 2023


Fedorenko, I., & Sun, Y. (2016). Microblogging-based civic participation on environment in China: A case study of the PM 2.5 campaign. VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations27(5), 2077–2105.

Jin, D. Y. (2013). The construction of platform imperialism in the globalization era. TripleC: Communication, Capitalism & Critique. Open Access Journal for a Global Sustainable Information Society11(1), 145–172.

Sherman, S., & Siravo, J. (2020). We don’t yet fully know what platforms can do: Ten points towards public platformation. Autonomy.

van Dijck, J., & Poell, T. (2015). Social media and the transformation of public space. Social Media + Society1(2), 2056305115622482.