Graddol (1997) notes that the dominance of OECD countries is being eroded as Asian economies continue to grow. As the population of the rich countries is aging, more and more young adults are now in Asia and Latin America and, as a consequence, other languages will emerge. Nevertheless, Graddol does not see English in immediate danger. He believes it will be challenged in some regions of the world. His view is supported by economists, cultural theorists and political scientists, which state that a new world order will appear in the 21st century.

In contrast to this skeptical view regarding the future of English as a lingua franca, the Guardian Weekly (2004) published an article about the use of English in China. The school system in China puts a lot of effort into improving the English skills of its students. For example, a new curriculum was introduced focusing more on computer-assisted learning and making basic-level English a mandatory requirement for all degree courses. The Guardian Weekly cited Professor Li Yong-tao, a professor of English language and culture at Shanghai University, who said that for some people English is even more important than Chinese. The reason is that speaking English is closely associated with better jobs. However, English has become so influential in Chinese society that critical voices are more and more heard. Some people are scared that Chinese may be corrupted by such a heavy emphasis on English.

But these worries do not only exist in China. In Austria some people are also apprehensive regarding the growing influence of English: switching to an English-based curriculum at the universities would mean to give up German as a scientific language. Georg Winckler, the former rector of the University of Vienna, promoted the model of “multilingualism”, courses are taught in German but visiting professors lecture in English. In contrast, Katrin Schäfer, a German biological anthropologist at the University of Vienna, noted that the University need people from around the world; with the current emphasis on German, this is not possible. The status quo no longer works, a transition is required. “But it is for the best”, Schäfer argues. (Bohannon, 2007).

I was born and raised in Carinthia. Carinthia is a federal state of Austria. So I consider myself as an Carinthian, as an Austrian and almost with the same enthusiasm as an European. Why I am telling you all this? Today I want to talk about identification within Europe and the European Union. As time is short I will concentrate on the following questions: What we understand with the term identity? Are there experiences and/or memories that are differentiate the communities of Europe from other communities? And how could we intensify an European identity?


Let us begin with the term identity:

Anthony D. Smith – professor for Nationalism and Ethnicity at the London School of Economics – pointed out that men have more than one identity. In human history there was an enlargement of identification. In the simplest and earliest societies the number and scale of identities were limited. Then men started to organize themselves in more complex agrarian societies and the number and scale of identities increased. Where once gender, age and clan had provided the identity, now there were village communities, regions and even empires. In the modern era of industrial capitalism and bureaucracy the number and scale increased again. Nowadays the nation and the national identification are dominant. Identify is situational. Human beings have multiple identifications and enjoy moving between them as the situation requires. But still, to build an identity you need memories and experiences and that leads to the second question:


Are there experiences and/or memories that are differentiate the communities of Europe from other communities?

Unfortunately you cannot answer this question completely. There are shared memories, traditions, myths, symbols and values but they have different meanings and significance for the different communities. The Roman heritage is such an example, because it penetrated certain area much more than others. Christianity embraced most of the continent, but on the other hand it split very early into separate cultural and ethnic traditions.

But there are shared traditions within Europe. Smith count Roman law, political democracy, parliamentary institutions, Judeo-Christian ethics and cultural heritages like Renaissance humanism, rationalism and empiricism to these shared traditions.


But how can we intensify the identification within the European Union?

Smith pointed out that we should not forget the power of the national mass education systems. For example history books often present a very national point of view. So this should change to a more European point of view. Also mass media play major role. So the goal should be to support media if the are reporting more about European topics. Last but not least culture influences the identity. The growing number of European music and art festivals is positive example. Hopefully all the national states of the European Union will remember the shared traditions and overcome their differences.



I used a wide array of vocabulary and an acceptable range of academic words, but my pronunciation was bad; for the audience it was sometimes difficult to understand me. I also made some grammar mistakes. A positive point was the structure of my presentation, it gave a good overview.



International Affairs (Royal Institute of International Affairs 1944-), Vol. 68, No. 1 (Jan., 1992), pp. 55-76. In:

The Internet is a relatively new technology. I assume that everyone from us use the Internet, probably even every day. We use the Internet because it offers a lot of opportunities. In the Internet you can find much information, knowledge and help too. Therefore, everyone who has access to the Internet has a huge advantage in comparison to people without access. Today I want to speak about who has access to the Internet and who has not.



First, I will talk about a new and important scientific term: digital gap or digital divide. After that, I will proceed with an optimistic and pessimistic point of view about the problem of the digital gap. Finally, we will discuss about the existing barriers for access to the Internet.


The digital divide

The term describes the gap between people with access to the Internet and people with very limit access to the Internet or without access at all. The problem is that the Internet is an important instrument in our knowledge based society. To take an example: Everyone who uses the Internet will find very fast and very effective the information he currently needs. Someone who cannot use it will probably have financial or social disadvantages. On the one hand, financially well situated and well educated people gathering knowledge trough the use of the Internet, and on the other hand, financially weak and illiterate people do not have the same chances to broaden their knowledge. So the digital gap is also a knowledge gap between the high classes and the lower classes. Obviously it is a big problem if the knowledge gap between the social classes is growing.


The Pessimistic Perspective

In the United States, African-Americans and non-white Hispanics have less access to the Internet. Even the number of access between these minorities and the majority becomes more similar, African-Americans and Hispanics spending less time on the Internet and they use a lot of their online time for entertainment like computer games. Pessimist also mentioned that the design of new media techniques carries the imprint of the social-cultural characteristics of its producers; predominantly male, well-educated, Englishspeaking, and members of the ethnic majority in a particular country. And this style would not appeal to woman or ethnic minorities. Another important point is the costs for computer and Internet; not everyone can afford computer and Internet.

The Optimistic Perspective

Recent studies show us that radical and gender differences are shrinking. Also limitations for disabled persons on the Internet are disappearing. The Author of the article mentioned the newer Windows operation systems as an example, because Windows has some features installed that helps disabled persons.


Personally I am sharing more the optimistic perspective. As we already heard, the gap between genders and race will disappear. And also the costs for computer and Internet will decrease more and more and we have to compare the costs with costs for other media. For example in Austria you have to pay for a daily quality newspaper around € 200 a year, if you read the same newspaper online it cost zero Euros. Nevertheless the digital gap will increase on a global level. I think developing countries will not be able to keep up with the developed countries.

So that was my presentation. I hope, I could explain you the term of digital gap and what it means for society, and if you are really interested in the topic, you now where you can find further information: of course on the Internet!



Wikipedia is one of the most successful sites on the World Wide Web. The power of Wikipedia derives from its users, who generate voluntary content. It is fascinating that so many people work so hard and for free at this project. So I will explore what are the motivations to work on the Wikipedia and how they make decisions and discuss problems.


My first question is: What are the motivations to work on Wikipedia?

And the second question is: How the adjust the different opinions and make a solid decision?


What are the motivations to work on Wikipedia?

Christian Stegbauer is a German sociologist. He tried to explain these two questions through a network analysis. He pointed out that sociologist normally have two reasons for the motivation to work on Wikipedia: the so-called general reciprocity and the ideology behind Wikipedia. General reciprocity means that people, if they often use the Wikipedia, profit from it, and imagine that someone else put a lot of work into it – they are more willing to give the public something back.

The second reason is the ideology behind Wikipedia. Probably, some people are motivated by the idea that everyone should have free access to the world’s knowledge, and that the knowledge is presented without restrict copyrights. Of course, these are good reasons for the motivations of users, but are they enough to work on the Wikipedia, even over years?

Stegbauer add another reason: Users are motivated through a social embedment. Persons develop identities through the positions they have in certain social relations. With time, users “earn” a position in the Wikipedia, from that position derives responsibility and other people also expect you to behave in a certain way. That could be a very motivating factor.

How does Wikipedia adjust different opinions and make a solid decision?

In the Wikipedia, every article has its discussion board. Stegbauer researched the development of the article about “logic” in the German Wikipedia. He pointed out that one user was the central figure for coordination of what is going to happen with the article. The user got this central position because of another very prominent Wikipedia user. This prominent user encouraged him to take over and he also supported him against another user, who also tried to take over the opinion leadership. So, we can say, if you are well-known within the Wikipedia, and you are competent about a certain area, and you have the support of other respected users, your possibilities to influence certain articles are much higher. The Wikipedia has a formal hierarchy with administrators and so on and an informal hierarchy. Nevertheless, the Wikipedia has a very flat hierarchy compared, for example, with the structure of companies.


Source: STEGBAUER, Christian: Wikipedia und die Bedeutung der sozialen Netzwerke. Netzwerkanalyse liefert Einblicke, wie soziale Prozesse das Handeln Einzelner bestimmen. Forschung Frankfurt 2-2008.

  1. Introduction


About what theme I am going to speak and why:

  • two-step flow of communication



Structure (Agenda) of this presentation

  • What means two-step flow of communication?
  • What and who are opinion leaders?
  • Why are opinion leaders, are opinion leaders?



  1. What means two-step flow of communication?


  • mass media powerful influence -> stimulus-response
  • one-step flow
  • two-step saying mass media reach opinion leaders
  • who, in turn, pass on what they read and hear to those of their every-day associates for whom they are influential.
  • simply explained


  1. What and who are opinion leaders?


  • opinion leaders are asked for advice
  • opinion leaders could be influenced by other opinion leaders
  • is chosen by demographic terms ((social status, sex, age, etc.) and
  • also in terms of the structure and values of the group
  • example
  • opinion leaders can be as different as the subjects, they are giving advice.


  1. Why are opinion leaders, are opinion leaders?


  • The main factors that someone become an opinion leader are related (1) to the personification of certain values (who one is); (2) to competence (what one knows); and (3) to strategic social location (whom one knows).
  • explained by the example of the girl


Today I want to present you a very famous hypothesis within the communication science, which is called the “two step flow of communication”. By the way: Does anyone know this hypothesis already; it was introduced by Lazarsfeld and elaborated by Katz?


It could be a little bit hard to understand it, if you hear it for the first time, so I organized my presentation in 3 questions.


First question is:

What means two-step flow of communication?


Second question is:

What and who are opinion leaders?


Third and last question is:

Why are opinion leaders, are opinion leaders?


Let us begin with the first question: What means two-step flow of communication?

Till the fifties of the last century many researchers believed that mass media have a powerful influence on the opinions of people. The theory – behind this belief – is named stimulus-response theory, and it states that mass media reach people directly and can provoke a certain effect. So to speak, the mass media spread their opinion in one-step flow to the masses. The two-step flow of communication theory stating now that the mass media first reach „opinion leaders“ who, in turn, pass on what they read and hear to those of their every-day associates for whom they are influential. Simple explained, the main meaning of two-step flow of communication is that the mass media do not change or shape the attitude of people directly but opinion leaders do.

Ok, but that brings us to the next question: What and who are opinion leaders?

Opinion leaders are people who have influence on other people. Opinion leaders are people who are asked for advice in a special area. So they can give advice about one matter, and receive advice about another matter. You can find them in every social class and occupation, and they primarily influence people from their closer social environment. Also, Opinion leaders could be influenced by other opinion leaders – so you could speak about a three-step flow of communication. The opinion leader is chosen by a group not only in demographic terms (social status, sex, age, etc.), but also in terms of the structure and values of the group. For example: A young unmarried girl is preferred for advice in matters of fashion and an older housewife in finding of a cheap and good supermarket. So we can see, opinion leaders can be as different as the subjects, they are giving advice. But how become somebody an opinion leader? Certainly, there a many young unmarried women but only one is asked for advice in matter of fashion. So that brings us to my last question:


Why are opinion leaders, are opinion leaders?

The main factors that someone become an opinion leader are related (1) to the personification of certain values (who one is); (2) to competence (what one knows); and (3) to strategic social location (whom one knows).


Let me explain these three factors on an example. Factor 1: Who one is, means that you prefer for advice in fashion, not only the young and unmarried girl, but also the good looking one. But you will not only focus on the good look, you will also take the girl who goes, for example, to a fashion school – so you can be certain that she actually knows a lot about fashion. That describe factor 2: what one knows. And Factor three is about “whom one knows”. So you will not only choose the young, unmarried, good looking girl that goes to the fashion school, but also the girl who knows fashioner and respected people within the fashion branch personally. That is important for bringing new inputs to the group and relates the group to the world outside.


You can see there are a lot of factors involved but if we think about it, I am certain that in one, two or a couple of things everyone from us is an opinion leader and I am also certain that everyone from us have a couple of people to ask for advice for a certain matter.

  1. Introduction


About what theme I am going to speak and why:

  • weblogs

Structure (Agenda) of this presentation

  • why blogs are important
  • what are weblogs
  • what are the most famous one


  1. Why is the topic important?
  • threat to traditional media
  • blogs are subjective but independent
  • bypass gatekeeper


  1. What are weblogs?


  • Jorn Barger:
  • A weblog (sometimes called a blog or a newspage or a filter) is a webpage where a weblogger (sometimes called a blogger, or a pre-surfer) ‚logs‘ all the other webpages she finds interesting.”
  • “The format is normally to add the newest entry at the top of the page, so that repeat visitors can catch up by simply reading down the page until they reach a link they saw on their last visit.”
  • promote interesting sites, engage discussion and propagate new developments
  • Watchblogs, Blawgs and Litblogs
  • VBlogs, Linklogs, Artblogs, Phlogs, Moblogs


  • „Those written by journalists;
  • Those written by professionals about their industry;
  • Those written by individuals at the scene of a major event;
  • Those that link primarily to news about current events”.

Presentation – full text:



My name is Fabian and I am studying Journalism and Mass Communication in Austria. Today I want to speak about weblogs. So I will begin my presentation with an introduction why weblogs are important or at least could become important in future. Secondly, I will explain what a weblog is, and finally tell you, what kinds of blogs are most widely read.


Why this topic is an important one?

One of the most discussed things today is the changing media consumption. The traditional media, such as television or newspapers, feel threaten by the Internet; but what exactly is meant with the term “Internet”? Not the Internet as a whole is a threat, but the new technologies are, which allows the consumer to produce own material very easily; it is the new participatory culture that threats the traditional media. Blogs are the best example for technologies, where you can produce your own material very easily and share it with others. In opposition to journalist products, blogs are very subjective, but on the other hand they are also very independent. They could bypass the gatekeeper function of traditional media. Today it is not clear, if blogs could become competitors for the traditional media and if blogs could influence and change the media system. Nevertheless these questions are incredibly important, as it could change everything.


What is a “weblog”?

The name “weblog” was coined 1997 by Jorn Barger. Barger was one of the first blogger. He defined weblogs as “A weblog (sometimes called a blog or a newspage or a filter) is a webpage where a weblogger (sometimes called a blogger, or a pre-surfer) ‚logs‘ all the other webpages she finds interesting.” and “The format is normally to add the newest entry at the top of the page, so that repeat visitors can catch up by simply reading down the page until they reach a link they saw on their last visit.”

At the beginning, blogs were used for orientation within the Internet. The earliest bloggers tried to promote interesting sites, engage discussion and propagate new developments.

Accordingly it was very easy to identify a weblog. Nowadays it is much more difficult. For example there are Watchblogs, Blawgs and Litblogs. Watchblogs watches the traditional media and making their mistakes or hidden campaigns public, Blawgs focus on Law and Litblogs on Literature. The only real common thing is that the newest entry is on top of the page and the other entries follow. It is controversial if the periodicity should be factor or not. The most famous blogs are updated at least once a week. But there also existing “Live-Blogs” where people comment live from a specific event and only for a specific time. Also, many blogs allow comments to interact with their users, however not every blog has this function. Today, there are also other categories of Blogs such as VBlogs, Linklogs, Artblogs, Phlogs, Moblogs.

Vblogs are blogs who focus on Videos, Linklogs are blogs where you only post links like delicious, Phlogs are Photoblogs, and Moblogs means mobile blogging; bloggers posting from their mobile devices.


You can see there are many different kinds of blogs, also the genres are very different: From Blawgs to Fun- or Edublogs, everything is possible. Nevertheless, the most read blogs are from

  • „Those written by journalists;
  • Those written by professionals about their industry;
  • Those written by individuals at the scene of a major event;
  • Those that link primarily to news about current events”.


I hope, I could give you a good overview of what blogs are. Telling about my experiences as a blogger.

“Writing Without Teachers” (1973) is a book from Peter Elbow, an well-known American educator, about Freewriting. Its overall purpose is to give instructions for better writing.

Trying to get everything just right in the beginning is a formula for failure, the author claims. Accordingly, people should exercise writing simply by writing without a break, without looking back, without crossing something out and without wondering how to spell something right. Thus, Freewriting is about nonediting and that should make writing less blocked.

Elbow argues most writers constantly try to correct their grammar and spelling during the writing process. This habit derives for the author from schooling, since then many are “obsessed” with their mistakes. This is a problem as learners getting nervous and jumpy if they concentrate all the time on their mistakes. Nevertheless, editing itself is not the problem; the problem is that people editing at the same time as they write. On the contrary, when somebody is speaking he has no time for editing at all. For the author speaking is easier and not so “heavy” as writing and he encourages the reader to think on an occasion where the reader gave a good speech. Elbow assumes the beginning of such a speech was seldom just right but with the ongoing speaking it ended up well.

Finally, the author mentioned an inner voice; a voice with its own sound, texture and rhythm, and this voice make people listen. For good writing people have to transform the voice into words and that would be practiced with Freewriting.

Note: I wrote this text as an assignment at my Academic English Course at the University of Copenhagen.

Nowadays you always hear about the bad economic situation for the traditional media. Nevertheless, I read an article from Douglas Ahlers who is very optimistic. So he has a kind of a new approach to this topic. Ahlers teaches at the Harvard Kennedy School and helped design and build the first online shopping sites and the first online travel site. First of all, Ahlers pointed out that many seeing the Internet as a threat to network news television and to newspapers because the Internet could substitute these kinds of media. Statistics shows us an undeniable decline of readers in newspapers and viewers on network television news. Another fact is: It is cheaper to produce for the Internet than for television or newspapers. The online media has zero costs for additional copies and also zero costs for distribution. For newspapers printing and delivery costs represent 30 to 40 percent of the total operation costs.

But the situation is not as bad as it seems. Ahlers refers in his article to Frank Magid who made a customer market segmentation analysis for the Online Publishers Association. For his analysis, he also did a survey. The survey figured out that 49 percent of the online news consumers do not care whether they get the information offline or online. 69 percent of them said that the only advantage of online media is to find things faster.

So Ahlers concludes that many users use both: online and offline media. In his opinion the concept of single media use is fading. Today we are using two or more media at the same time – we can summarize that as multitasking, or we use different media at different times during the day – we can summarize that as multichannel use. Therefore we should not understand online media as a substitute but more as a complement. Ahlers’ conclusion is underpinned through Frank Magids survey. 29 percent of the sample saying that they are only using online media but 51% saying they are using both, online and offline media and 21% saying they are using occasional or never online media. That is the reason why the traditional media will not disappear even if it will not be so much important as before the Internet.

In my opinion this is a reasonable approach. I would like to add an argument to this discussion. Riepl’s law is a hypothesis formulated by Wolfgang Riepl in 1913. Riepl is well known in german speaking countries. He stated that new types of media never replace existing modes of media when they are already good enough embedded in society. But the new media can force the existing one to search for new functions in society. For example, the Gutenberg press replaced the hand written book in the function of distributing information. Nevertheless the hand written book didn’t die out but since then it was mainly used as an art work. Even if  Riepl’s law is not high accurately, I think it gives a good idea for the future. Newspapers will probably not disappear but it is uncertain how and for what we will use it.


AHLERS, Douglas: News Consumption and the New Electronic Media

Viral Marketing is often described as a Virus. Like a Virus, Viral Marketing should spread exponentially by using other host and their resources. It should also grow geometrically, doubling the size with each iteration:



Dr. Ralph Wilson pointed out that: “Viral marketing describes any strategy that encourages individuals to pass on a marketing message to others, creating the potential for exponential growth in the message’s exposure and influence.” The name viral marketing is particularly used for this kind of advertising on the web. Wilson also says that every viral marketing strategy should consider 6 points:

  1. Gives away products or services
  2. Provides for effortless transfer to others
  3. Scales easily from small to very large
  4. Exploits common motivations and behaviors
  5. Utilizes existing communication networks
  6. Takes advantage of others‘ resources


One good example is the Old Spice Ad:


“Give away products or services” means that you have to offer something special, something worth enough for people to share and distribute. 

“Provides for effortless transfer to others” means that it has to be easy to share the service with other people. So the Internet is predestinated for viral marketing.

“Scales easily from small to very large” means that you have to provide enough resources if your campaign is a success and many people follow you.

“Exploits common motivations and behaviors” means that a clever viral marketing campaign uses the desire of people to be cool and to be loved.

“Utilizes existing communication networks.” Everyone has his own networks. You have a close one with your family and friends and a weaker network with people you meet at work, neighbors and so on. Marketers try to use these networks. 

“Takes advantage of others‘ resources.” The more resources your ad use, the more people have the possibility to recognize it.