A new report, “Social Change and the Russian Network Society,” by Gregory Asmolov and Josh Machleder has been published on information technology in Russian civil society. They explain how new information technology has given rise to the “Fifth Estate,” a social media-oriented network society that is taking its place alongside traditional media and is changing the way Russians consume information.
“Network society” can use the Internet as a platform to “challenge the influence of other, more established bases of authority” and “invigorate the country’s civil society.” The power of these institutions is their ability to present a wider perspective than traditional, state controlled media that has been the major source of Russia’s information for decades.
The examples prove that the new generation of networked individuals has the power to “set agendas and frame issues,” through collaboration in the blogosphere.
The report has two recommendations: to improve collaboration between the “fourth and fifth estates” and to promote the creation of “networked institutions that enable collective action for transparency, accountability and positive social change.” It explores where the Russian network society should go next and the key factors that will enable greater participation in civil society.