Jens Wendland, Professor, Chair of Media Theory and Economics, Faculty of Journalism, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia
It is an astonishing contradiction: on the one hand the societal discourse on the subject: Internet over-winds - above all in the west. Nearly no object of public importance into which at least as an aspect the (digital) future of the media would not creep. On the other hand, the discussion is still blurred with all forecasts and scenarios and has remained extremely speculative – except, what concerns the power of the markets, the expectation of quicker and quicker jumps in technology and uses. Still vaguely the digital age appears to us what concerns magnitude and stamping on the developments of the societies digitized then.
And it is remarkable, how defensively and pessimistically just in many distinctive media societies the discussions about the era of digitalization run. They put out on the Internet often first signs of a systematic aberration, deplore, for example, the extinction of professional journalism, the levelling of education, the manipulation by searching machines, the separation of the integration strength of the media in a provided society in favour of the "mood structure" in microblogs or Internet-communities, with it the dismantling of social structures and often enough the escape of the individual in isolated electronic parallel societies.
This is also in the case of the leaps and bounds rising Internet use and the electronic memory media a known reaction: Just strong, hardened if not closed societies behave as a rule compared with innovations defensively, repulsing. Cultural traditions, sociocultural patterns and conventions, serve as a protective screen before the circulations of new developments. And with the introduction of new technologies a revolutionary change is feared which grasps the society, but is neither understood in his effects and magnitudes nor can be formed apparently.
How of such a dead end of the discourse escape? I mean, as well as in other areas of social Prognostik a look helps outward. But why just the outside view on the development of the BRIC-S should help us to escape from our restricted point of view - briefly: to value the media potential and his social valency possibly of the Internet and social media?
My contribution is of course not to project the picture of a nice new media world possibly of the BRIC-S against the cultural-pessimistically stamped disputes in the "old" societies of the west, to identify there Mac Luhans worldwide electronic village. As of course is valid that one can deliver no obliging forecasts what concerns the creeping revolution of the digital communication - also at the example of the BRIC-S. Revolutions cannot be just measured.
Moreover, I speak with limited competence, because outside view also means, that I am arrested to a media tradition and media practise which derives from the circumstances of a ripe civil society. As a journalist I am educated in the age of the printed media. I have created the jump to Gutenberg 2.0, into the digital media work, just still in the second half of my professional biography. It would be arrogant indeed if I stated, I would know answer about how it looks „there inside“ - in BRIC S.
Everything not, what, however, then?
I would like to stimulate with my contribution a sort of benchmarking. Elementary identity figures of the advanced media societies should be compared to those of the BRIC-S - culturally, socio-politically, economically. Besides, blow lights can flash, be illuminated at most, however, trends. Since benchmarking between "old", postal-industrial civil societies and the opener structures of society unqualified to parts of the BRIC-S is complicated because it also concerns unbalanced from an economic idea born, thing in her own interests of divergent nations. In this way, the BRIC-S seem to be in political regard artificial.
Anyhow: a kind of benchmarking promises an opening of rigid discourses with apt clues: the first one concerns the growth of the Internet population. It amounted from August, 2010 till 2011 after the listing of the market research enterprise comscore worldwide to 10 percent and split up itself as follows: United States plus 2, Japan just still plus 1 percent, the BRIC states Russia, however, 14, India plus 13 and Brazil just as China 18 percent.
This impressive dynamism founds itself from an out stinging demographic pattern. The age segments of the population possibly within the European Union compared with states of the BRIC-S far gape - a look at the basic data must be enough in this frame: The age step between 15 and 24 years spreads in the single societies as follows: Brazil 25.4, China 30.3, India 33.7 percent; against it the EU 18.3 percent. Dramatically it gapes in the segment of 55 years and older: again Brazil 6.8, China 6.4, India 2.5 percent against the European Union with 20.9 percent.
50 percent less portion of the older, 50 percent more in younger population in the BRICS: this is, even if roughly taken, benchmark whose identity figures conclude by a high affinity to the digital mass communication. And the reference of this demographic sketch is called: the digital mass media are placed in the BRIC-S especially well: the BRIC-S are suited as a reference for the structural development of growing media societies. They could become a test region for the globalization of the digitized media.
To me it gets on as initiated, not, facts and figures of the media consumption to break down the magnitude in media economy and media consumption because I want to be no observer for the investments of the media industry
It is for me in a kind ideal benchmarking about the basic question: if the BRIC-S on the jump are, with their demographic "equipment", first almost clean digitally stamped generation in the digital era to reach: what means that for the constitution of the new media world., for the social developments? How leave behind the BRIC-S the past of the analogous printed media of the era Gutenberg and the analogous electronic media, television.
To bring it on an easy, only theoretically plausible alternative of a discourse which must be put on of course more differentiated: do go the BRIC-S ways to a common media constitution and do they choose, besides, the third own way in the digital era? Or tap with concurrent design more nationwide of cultural peculiarities the springs of the civil societies.
Methodically is valid: we remain meanwhile with the view of the new global digital era of the mass media witnesses of a process, not experts of ready products. We consume and value bridge technologies, possibly currently the fight for the dominance of the hardware, by means of which software, so that also the freedom and creativity of the digital media work are domesticated stronger and stronger. Irritant word and headword: Apple. However, a question would be whether in the long term the constitution of the BRIC-S becomes strong enough, with the certainly available resources own technological profiles against them we say with a catchword - to develop Americanization of the markets.
It is known which threshold countries assemble in particular under BRIC-S: Raw material suppliers like Brazil and Russia, mental manufacturer who produce for a long time cheap software like India, the biggest workbench of the world (China), with South Africa as the gate openers to the African continent. One quarter of the worldwide economic achievement generates about 40 percent of the world population. BRIC-S a disproportionate developing potential is ascribed with results also for the media industry. However, also in the medium term a clear approach to individual incomes and social standards of the most important industrial nations is hardly to be expected. A big developing obstacle exists in the deficit with the access to education and in the health service.
On the other side such structural deficits form challenges for your dismantling also in the course of the media development which shows a digital gap, admittedly, in the BRIC-S. Of a newer study of the world economy forum from April of this year according to lie the BRIC-S in the spectrum of 142 examined states in the use of the Internet between the ranks 51 and 72nd Germany for instance takes the 16th rank. Expert's lack as well as insufficient economic conditions are stated in the study just as a low educational level and big weaknesses in the infrastructure also of existing institutions.
The fact that at the same time challenges arise from these weaknesses which also derive from a dynamic economic development, is easy to understand. And the fact that these challenges manifest themselves in growing media societies in new digital communication strategies, is obvious. In a sub global connection like of the BRIC-S for example, to implement e-learning for educational efforts, is obvious. The relation between education and digitalization just by means of social media is an own, big chapter.
An obviously practical smaller example at least in another area proves how practically possibilities of digital mass media are pursued in the BRIC -S already today and can deliver with it absolutely references on account of specific experience values: according to a topical study of the Cegedim Strategic Data (CSD) doctors from the BRIC-S social media much more often and more intensely are of use for professional purposes than their colleagues from the industrial states.
In India are of use 58 percent social media and, however, the pushing to the front platform Facebook is a pacemaker. In Germany there are against it only 11 percent. In Europe the skeptics in the contact with media - the at the beginning called cultural reservation predominate by the majority. Comparatively advanced in dealing with social media are, nevertheless, the German and also English doctors because are set up in both countries of physician-communities.
At the small example big questions are to be read: social media, communities - where they lead to which social relevance they can lead. Possibly to a counterpublic? Not to blast the format of the contribution, the speech should be again not as findings, but as a coarse road description of the respect social media for company, outgoing from the traditional base of the civil society.
Civil society is often shortened on middle-class society. Social media rhymes fast in the transmission of our heated media reality to the gathering mould of a politically meant counterpublic. A systematic classification leads rather to the discursive beginning: the idea of the civil society propagates the separation between a narrower political-public sector, a sort of directorial company beside which a big social-private area exists. The media, in civil societies of ideal manner are independent of state of the society which has lost, admittedly, by the individuation of the people in integration strength. The counterpicture means as for example in former socialist states the politicisation of all areas of life with suitable instruments of her steering system and control also of the media.
However, in the postal-socialist like postal-modern era remain the conclusion, which Walter Benjamin who has moved theoretically the piece of art into the age of his technical ability for reproduction, formulated: if media change, the society changes.
And it allows to found the protagonist of the critical (society) theory like Jürgen Habermas the education of society only by communication - a thesis which seems plausible also in view of the mediated society.
The fact that the loss fears what concerns the old media are especially strong in the matured western civil societies - also the connections above all of the old people to the analogous age, is surprising a little. Just as little surprises that in radically younger societies like those of the BRIC-S, the competence and credibility are respected by newspapers or television while the use of media , however, concentrates upon the dynamism of the new media, the (multimedia) Internet and social media.
Social media are introduced with her different platforms in the BRIC-S long ago and are high trained, even if deficits restrain like low literacy rates or relatively underdeveloped mobile structure the use. Own platform generally for the BRIC-S is not already recognizable because of the often diverging media-industrial and political attempts, rather the connection with the global dominating brands like Facebook-, admittedly, with the exception of China in which five social media platforms of state control are defeated.
If one understands the social-private sector independent of state as a conceptual structure characteristic of the civil society, are comparatively to be observed two naturally counter-rotating trends between some countries of the BRIC-S and the West: the defence of old politicised social structures by censorship possibly under sociopolitical pretexts – for instance president Putin the new „black list“ for the Internet in Russia with which putatively to the protection of children and young people web pages should be blocked. In the BRIC-S there is no uniform picture on the subject Control and Censorship.
The western civil societies on the other hand strive to integrate the digitalization as it were in hope to compensate for the attenuation of the party democracies by the activism of the net. The fact that so in both variations the public is politically influenced, is evident. Internet protests by action group communities against environmental pollution increase in China like against big construction project-see against Stuttgart 21 in Germany - or possibly against political-cultural plans of the European Union. The attempt of a legal initiative for copyright by acta has failed because of Internet activists.
The fact that by social media a new public would originate that Internet activists could intervene forming existing political systems and procedures, stands only as a speculative thesis or supposition in the discourse. The reference fed in the developed civil societies, the digital age allows a new political influence to new Players and partners, has itself in spite of the party of the net activists, the pirates has not yet become realistic like the effectiveness of digital-democratically laid out software like liquid democracy.
The disappointment stands on the other qualitatively as weighty side meanwhile that intercultural questions have not been raised in the development between the BRIC-S. They are not put in the western media societies only at all. The globalization of the media of course influences the intercultural communication and the first question is even extinguished whether, besides, intercultural differences are extended.
After identity figures from the really existing world of the economy and society many arguments do not come up, but some apt references for own way of the BRIC-S in the digital age seem to be clear. Announcements of the demography and economy are apt: the BRIC -S represent in the age spectrum of her population an ideal aim audience for the digitalization of the mass communication. The coping of social deficits possibly in the state infrastructure, in the training system or health system is also to be understood as a challenge for the education of a digital communication. Presently maybe only developing potentials can be really defined. The BRIC-S also work in their media development still like a sleeping giant who is occupied at his living moments still too much with itself.
To the being of the discourse belongs agenda setting, which marks early potentials and does not follow only main stream of social development. In this respect the development of the digital mass communication should be put in the BRIC-S under observation. I see in my remarks also the appeal to think about new ones culturally and socially straightened models of the digital mass communication off the mainstream of power and market at the example of the BRIC-S.