Everywhere you go public surrounds you. There is the large encompassing public of America or any other country, and then the sub-cultures within that country. For America it could be the 50 states. For instance, the reason why New Yorkers think southerners drive too slow is because they come from a different public.
You can break it down even further if you look at the towns within states. Finally there are the businesses, schools, and churches within a town that have an even more specified public.
I don’t think I ever realized how many publics I was a part of until I thought about this question. My family has moved a lot, so although I am not as closely affiliated with many of the “publics” I once was very close to, I still keep in contact.
It is sometimes strange returning to something that you used to be a part of, because sometimes the public has changed (and I have changed), so it really doesn’t feel like the same culture you left.
When I go home I am involved with my church, family, and town activities. When I am at school I am more involved with family (by phone), friends, studies, church, and work. However, my church in Lakeland is a very different public from my church in Atlanta, even though both would be in the same broad category of charismatic.
I have also seen how my personality or outlook on life changes, as I am more or less involved with a certain public. However, one thing I look for as I try out different sub-cultures, is how will this public change me for the better and how could I help to change it for the better.
I also have been blessed many times by having publics overlap, and that is positive, because it helps to build a larger sense of community. For instance, I have had friends from school come to my youth group or theater club.
That is one of the reasons I enjoy college so much — it feels like so many parts of my world intersect or touch other segments. I can go to school, meals, and in some cases, back to my dorm with all my friends. Then on Sunday I normally carpool to a church with some of the same public I see every day at school. Overlap is not always good, but sometimes it can feel really comfortable.