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Social Media, Mobilisation and Political Participation

Plenary / Panel
German and English language


Research Assistant, Web Literacy Lab - Department of Journalism and PR, FH JOANNEUM, Graz Abstract
Weil Social Media mittlerweile ein Massenphänomen sind und über ganz spezifische Eigenschaften verfügen (persönliche Profile, simple One-To-Many-Kommunikation, & ), stellt sich die Jahrzehnte alte Frage aufs Neue, inwieweit das Internet politische Partizipation fördert.
Die Forschung ist sich weiterhin über die Antwort uneins, ich persönlich sehe das Social Web vielmehr als Katalysator für Transparenz und als Instrument der Aufbegehrenden und weniger als politisches Schlafmittel (Stichwort: Slacktivismus) und Kontrollwerkzeug der Mächtigen. In meinem Beitrag bringe ich ein Beispiel aus einem meiner Forschungsprojekte [1]  konkret geht es um die Verwendung von Twitter in der österreichischen Innenpolitik  und analysiere kurz zwei weitere Beispiele der aktivistischen Nutzung sozialer Medien. Abschließend gebe ich einen Ausblick darauf, wie sich durch die zunehmenden Kupplung des Social Web mit dem Web of Things Partizipation und Aktivismus verändern.
Director, Centre for Media, ZeMKI - Communication and Information Research, University of Bremen Abstract
Social software is a great invention: it makes the exchange of information possible, helps to manage relations between people and offers new forms of collaborative work. But which of the well known offers in the internet are really social software? Facebook forces the people to organize their social relations in a given form. Google tries to control the whole cultural heritage of humankind. Amazon offers books for every topic, but not all books can be bought on Amazon. Apple decides which apps you are allowed to buy. And they all use their software to sell the people using it to the advertising industry. The same is true for Microsoft, Twitter and all the others.

Antonio Gramsci calls this hegemony and Foucault reminds us of internalized mechanisms of power. Indeed, in Jeremy Benthams jail, political communication cannot develop. Therefore, social software must be controlled by its users. We need at least a board of trustees elected by the users of the respective social software offer.
Professor for New Media and Digital Culture, University of Amsterdam Abstract
For the panel discussion I would like to start with two examples of what could be described as social media action formats, such as the one person protests in Russia and the art bombs around the world to protest the budget cuts on art and culture in the Netherlands. Thereafter, I take the position, however, that the capacity of social media to mobilise (political) action dissipates, when viewed through the lens of the following seven recent episodes of social media use. They are taken from discussions of social media and the American workplace, the role of social media in a mass exodus in India, the falling Facebook share price and questions of whether it will go the way of MySpace, a star athlete's hubris from a large follower count on Twitter, a Bahrain activist's recent prison sentencing for organising online, the half-life of our online data gathered by headhunting companies, and the lack of a reasonable expectation of privacy by an Occupy Wall Street demonstrator when using social media. The panel contribution revolves around the following recent quotations. 1) Workplace. "Social media have made it the norm to tell everybody everything." 2) India. "A swirl of unfounded rumours spread (…) by social media, [prompted] (…) the panic." 3) Facebook share price. "The more users a site attracts, the more others will want to use it, which creates a natural monopoly. The network effect allowed these companies to grow so fast, but the decline can be just as ferocious." 4) Star athlete. [On social media] “you almost have to live like a hermit if you don’t want to get in trouble.” 5) Bahrain. "[The] Court (…) found Mr.
(…) guilty of 'inciting illegal assemblies and organizing unlicensed demonstrations through social media Web sites.'" 6) Headhunting. "[The company] assembles a [potential employee's] dossier (…) of positive information (…) and negative information that meets delineated criteria:
online evidence of racist remarks; references to drugs; sexually-explicit photos, text messages, or videos; or displays of guns or bombs, for example." 7) Occupy Wall Street. The judge (…) ruled (…) that Mr. (…) did not have 'a reasonable expectation of privacy' under the Constitution and that posting on Twitter was akin to screaming out a window." Each episode points to the question of the diffidence in using social media, potentially narrowing its societal application.

The one-person protests are described here,, and the Facebook Artbomb page is here,

The seven episodes of social media use have the following references:
Editor-in-Chief, NZZ Abstract
The rise of social media has not only affected politics as such, it also changes the role and purpose of media organizations and their coverage of politics and society.

I will talk about ways how media can fulfill their democratic function and raise political engagement by combining their traditional tasks – like unbiased, professional research and information – with new functions: Their “forum” function – providing and discussing different perspectives on issues. People who grew up with social media are used to getting their information at the same time when they express opinions and interact with others, on social networks or elsewhere. News organizations need to become those debate hubs, as well as enhance their presence in social media. I will briefly mention examples of successful journalistic engagement strategies in the social sphere that created or enforced a citizen movement or a political debate.
Ambassador ret.; President, Austrian UNESCO Commission, Vienna Chair


Research Assistant, Web Literacy Lab - Department of Journalism and PR, FH JOANNEUM, Graz

2004-2008 Student, Department of Journalism and PR, FH JOANNEUM, Graz
2007 Exchange Student, Oslo University College, Oslo
since 2008 Research Assistant, Department of Journalism and PR, FH JOANNEUM, Graz
since 2009 PhD Candidate, Department of Communication, University of Vienna

Dr. Friedrich KROTZ

Director, Centre for Media, ZeMKI - Communication and Information Research, University of Bremen

 Ausbildung: Diplom-Mathematiker (Karlsruhe) und Diplom-Soziologie (Hamburg), Promotion in Soziologie, Habilitation in Journalistik und Kommunikationswissenschaft (Hamburg)
  Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter, Informatik, Fachhochschule Hamburg
  Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter, Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie, Universität Hamburg, FU Berlin und Hans-Bredow-Institut für Medienforschung Hamburg
  Gast- und Vertretungsprofessuren, Forschungsaufenthalte, Indiana University, Universitäten Zürich, Jena, Potsdam
1974-1999 Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter, Fachbereich Mathematik, Universität des Saarlandes, Saarbrücken
2001-2003 Professor, Universität Münster
2003-2010 Professor, Universität Erfurt
seit 2010 Professor, Universität Bremen

Dr. Richard ROGERS

Professor for New Media and Digital Culture, University of Amsterdam

1987-1988 Research Assistant, Program on Strategic Computing in the Public Sector, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
1988-1990 Research Associate, Department of Innovation and Organization, WZB - Science Center Berlin
1992-1998 PhD Candidate and Lecturer, Department of Science and Technology Dynamics, University of Amsterdam
1993-2011 Managing Editor & Webmaster, EASST Review, European Association for the Study of Science and Technology
1998-1999 Lecturer and Researcher, Computer-Related Design, Faculty of Architecture, Royal College of Art, London
1999-2000 Design & Media Research Fellow, Jan van Eyck Academy, Maastricht
since 1999 Director, Foundation, Amsterdam
2000-2007 Assistant Professor, Department of Media Studies, University of Amsterdam
2007-2008 Associate Professor, Department of Media Studies, University of Amsterdam
since 2008 Chair and University Professor New Media & Digital Culture, Department of Media Studies, University of Amsterdam

Mag.Jur. Anita ZIELINA

Editor-in-Chief, NZZ

2000-2004 Freelance Journalist, Vienna
2004-2008 Reporter Politics & Education,, Vienna
2008-2011 Editor Politics & Education,, Vienna
since 2008 Trainer & Consultant, Vienna
2009-2011 Lecturer, University of Applied Sciences Vienna
2011-2012 Knight Fellow, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA


Ambassador ret.; President, Austrian UNESCO Commission, Vienna

1962-1968 Student of history and German philology and literature at the University of Vienna, 1968 Promotion to Doctor of Philosophy (major in modern European history)
1969-1973 Assistant Professor at the University of Vienna
1973 Entry into the Austrian Foreign Service
1975-1978 Minister Counselor at the Permanent Mission of Austria to the United Nations, New York
1983-1992 Foreign Policy Advisor to the Austrian Federal Chancellor
1992-1999 Ambassador of the Republic of Austria to France
1997-1999 Ambassador of the Republic of Austria at the Court of St. James
1999-2003 Director General for European Integration and Economic Affairs in the Austrian Ministry for Foreign Affairs
2003-2008 Ambassador of the Republic of Austria to the United States of America, Permanent Observer of the Republic of Austria to the Organization of American States (OAS), Non-resident Ambassador of the Republic of Austria to the Commonwealth of the Bahamas
2009 Appointment as President of the Austrian UNESCO Commission
2013 Appointment as Chair of the University Board of the University of Vienna

Political Symposium

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