Ingeborg Patsch – Prospects for Establishing a Social Media Network for Cultural Communities in Rural Areas. A case study about a specific social media network in the region of Pinzgau
Initiator and manager of socio-cultural projects, with a strong background in information and communication technology.
This Master’s thesis deals with the question: Which role can Social Media Networks play in improving the situation of existing cultural communities in rural areas?
In this respect, cultural communities are defined as a group of people who communicate with each other about an issue of interest (the social object). Social Media are not only analyzed concerning their technical manifestations and organizational aspects, but also regarding their social meaning and how they influence group dynamics and existing social systems.
The methodological framework used for this purpose is Hollingsworth’s model of institutional analysis. In short, this model assumes that we can analyze any situation based on five levels. This approach allows a socio-economic as well as a socio-political point of view and enables us to include and question rather general aspects like norms, values and habits within the same framework with which very specific organizations are scrutinized.
Based on the above model, chapter 2 begins by defining what is understood as culture and which parts of it will be reflected on in this Master’s thesis. Briefly stated, it is the culture produced during leisure time, from which the better part is produced in the third sector. The Image Culture Image Leisure Time System shows how the sectors overlap and where culture can be identified. Chapter 2 ends with an analysis of Social Media within the framework of institutional analysis. This analysis shows the constraints which influence the development and usage of Social Media. Continuing on the level of organization, two dimensions are reflected on: firstly, what form of organizations normally run Social Media infrastructure and secondly, which processes of (other) social groups (communities, networks, businesses …) can be reproduced and improved by Social Media.
Chapter 3 lays the foundation for understanding the case study more easily. This case study is the Social Media Network IBinPinzgau which took place in the Region of Pinzgau. Therefore, chapter 3 gives a close description of this region. It starts with general information like economic performance and education which is followed by an analysis of the region based on the aforementioned institutional analysis. Firstly, assumptions about values and habits influencing the behavior of actors with regard to culture are made. Secondly, the political and economic structures with regard to cultural productions are analyzed. Thirdly, a brief overview of current cultural organizations illustrates the setting of the cultural area of Pinzgau. Chapter 3 is rounded off by analyzing four fields in which culture faces problems or challenges: financing, its relation to tourism, its satisfaction with choices and possibilities and barriers to participation.
Chapter 4 starts with a description of the Social Media Network IBinPinzgau. IBinPinzgau is planned to be a meeting point for artists, creative people and people interested in culture produced in the region. This very specific part is followed by an analysis of the experiences as operators of such networks. Challenges and risks were reviewed on the basis of specific examples as well as on a theoretic level. Operators have to take the three aspects organization, financing and awareness into consideration while dealing with the Social Object as the central issue. At last, chapter 4 answers the question with regards to the problems described in chapter 3. Briefly stated, on the one hand, Social Media can increase connectivity and be a matrix for awareness. On the other hand, Social Media cannot solve problems which have their roots in the existing structure or which lack power. For those, in a best case scenario, it can serve as an additional tool, but not be the solution itself.
Link to presentation/documentation: