We currently live in a world of constantly changing media. The way we use media today changes our perception of the public, the way in which we socialize, our way of learning, as well as our way of life. The groups and communities we live in are also constructed by the way in which we use different media. On the one hand, there are traditional media like newspapers and television, which are becoming more and more digital. On the other hand, we use new forms of media such as social media platforms or other online-services. It also affects organisations such as those of media production and journalism. They become dependent on media, but they are also shaped by media.
The main idea of the research network “Transforming Communications” of the Universities of Bremen and Hamburg is to investigate individuals, as well as various groups and organisations, in times of profound mediatisation. The goal is to show that it is not just single mediums which lead to profound changes, but rather the individuals’ practices which are entangled with various media. ‘New’ media technologies like social media platforms, such as Facebook or Twitter, are strongly linked to ‘old’ media like newspapers and television, which are becoming increasingly digitalised.
In times of increasingly complex communication figurations, we are confronted with a transformation that is not a simple convergence into a single device – as was expected at the beginning of the digital age – but a differentiation of different forms of media which are more and more intertwined and omnipresent. Furthermore, they stand out due to a high level of innovation and the representation of social life in computerised data, also known as datafication.
This leads to the research network’s main question: how does the communicative construction of different areas of society transform with the current profound mediatisation? The overall aim of the project is to develop a theory for the transformation of communication using empirical data in order to make it possible to describe and explain generalizing descriptive patterns of transformation through a changing media environment.