Revitalizing Eastern and Western Online Communication

Maria Faust


This paper explains in a de-westernized sense (Gunaratne, 2010) how internet-mediated communication changes the way we deal with and plan time both individually and culturally in Germany and China. Therefore, it blends Western and Eastern culture and media theories. The paper focuses on two distinct phenomena: temporal change due to social media, and Online journalism, as the core of Internet-mediated communication (for Germany 39% communication, media use 24% Projektgruppe ARD/ZDF-Multimedia, 2016; for China 90.7% instant messaging, 82% Internet news China Internet Network Information Center, 2017), with other temporal change via smart devices touched upon (Ash, 2018).

General research on time in post modern societies, recently more focused on media’s temporal change phenomena (e.g. Barker, 2012; Barker, 2018; Castells, 2010; Eriksen, 2001; Hartmann, 2016; Hassan, 2003; Innis,2004; Neverla, 2010a, 2010b; Nowotny, 1995; Rantanen, 2005; Wajcman, 2010; Wajcmanand Dodd) has not yet linked the different societal and cultural levels of temporal change.Thus, we suggest the following to fill this research gap: For a micro perspective the notions of network theories (e.g. Granovetter, 1973; Schönhuth, 2013), media synchronicity (Dennis, Fuller, and Valacich, 2008) and the idea of permanent connectivity (Sonnentag, Reinecke, Mata, and Vorderer, 2018; van Dijck, 2013; Vorderer, Krömer, and Schneider, 2016) are linked. On a meso level, institutional change in Online journalism with a focus on acceleration is modeled (Ananny 2016).

On a macro level, mediatization theory (Couldry and Hepp, 2017; Krotz, 2001, 2012) and recent acceleration theory (Rosa, 2005, 2012, 2017) is discussed. The levels are systematically linked suggesting a micro-meso-macro-link (Quandt, 2010) to then ask if and how many of the dimensions of the construct temporal understanding (Faust, 2016) can be changed through Internet-mediated communication. Temporal understanding consists of nine dimensions: General past, general future, instrumental experience (monochronicity), fatalism, interacting experience (polychronicity), pace of life, future as planned expectation and result of proximal goals as well as future as trust based interacting expectation and result of present positive behavior. Temporal understanding integrates the anthropological construct of polychronicity (Bluedorn, Kalliath, Strube, and Martin, 1999; Hall, 1984; Lindquist and Kaufman-Scarborough, 2007), pace of life (Levine, 1998) and temporal horizon (Klapproth, 2011) into a broader framework which goes beyond Western biased constructs through the theory driven incorporation of Confucian notions (Chinese Culture Connection, 1987). Finally, meta trends are laid out.