Mercury Brain GmbH

04.06.2019 Mercury Brain GmbH was officially founded. Foto: Daniel Felix

Now it’s official – Mercury Brain GmbH! Registered on June 4, she was born an adult, with dual nationality, together with former partners, clients, public relations friends, journalists, researchers and having worked in some places around the world (Brazil, USA, Austria, Switzerland, Bosnia). After years of project development, research, execution, results and teaching in the area of social communication, in Brazil since 1996 and in Europe since 2004, #fernandawüthrich #publicrelations #crisismanagement #mediation #scientificresearch, is now called Mercury Brain Gmbh. #mercurybrain

Political communication within the digital communication age

There is no doubt that social media has become a relevant political communication channel in the last few decades, e.g. during periodic elections. Because of this tool, political news is not only produced by journalists. Political actors produce and receive information, and many of them become influencers of the communication process and increasingly have their own strategies to communicate with voters and influence public opinion. Voters have more forms of participation at their disposal in the digital communication age. The change of the message flow has an impact on the communication of politics, as well as the attitudes of political decision makers and political institutions. In some countries, print media have already received considerably less attention as a political news source than social media. But political actors have started to intensively use social media for their own purposes, especially for mobilizing voters. But the downside of this way of political communication is that the political actors’ ability to handle the dilemmas of modern democracy is decreasing. Contradictions in political communication may also arise in the digital age, inducing, e.g. fake news, the escalation of social and political movements, political vandalism, violent political demonstrations, etc.

Another aspect to be considered is the algorithmic design of social media platforms that influence interactions in the virtual space. What we don’t know much about in this regard is: what is the likelihood that political actors and political institutions (e.g. political parties) will, due to the growing influence of social media, increase contradictions and dilemmas in political communication? Answering this question would make it possible to identify those aspects of political communication which should be reviewed in political communication within the digital communication age.

The digital society has expanded the range of information being offered beyond conventional mass media, and digital transmission has led to an abundance of information in the online space. In my recent study (Wüthrich, 2017), I summarized the tendency toward pleasantness and the striving for credibility in journalism at the same time. This communication society dilemma motivates communication science to discuss the actual architectural and algorithmic designs of media. The possibilities of online communication broaden participation in public communication processes, and thus, normativity is also required.

Medienkompetenz als Voraussetzung Komplexität zu verstehen

Wenn Menschen denken, dass sie an etwas nicht glauben können, weil es ihnen zu kompliziert ist, oder dass etwas für sie glaubwürdig ist, in dem sie es gefällig machen, dann steht hier die Komplexität als ein kritischer Punkt des theoretischen Zugangs zur Diskussion. In diesem Sinne bringt Komplexität Gefälligkeit und Glaubwürdigkeit zusammen. Die beiden sind zueinander im Widerspruch, zufällig sind sie aber genau durch diesen Widerspruch miteinander verbunden.

Eines der größten Themen in der Publizistikkommunikation ist das Problem, dass das Verhältnis zwischen der journalistischen Praxis und dem System Journalismus in der Theorie sehr stark verstanden wird, wie ein ökonomisches Partner Verhältnis von Produktion versus Konsum. Wegen dieses ökonomisch gedachten Zugangs entsteht die Frage, ob das Publikum nimmt oder akzeptiert was die journalistische Praxis tut.

Die affirmativen Modelltheorien befriedigen die Komplexitätsreduktion in ökonomischen, organisatorischen und technischen Fragen aber schaffen kein Wissen. Die theoretische Beschreibung der Funktion des Journalismus in Bezug auf Komplexität kann nicht nur als Reduktion dieser Komplexität, sondern auch als Aufarbeitung und selektive Fokussierung auf Komplexität aufgefasst werden. Medienkompetenz ist eine Voraussetzung, um Komplexität zu verstehen.

Die Glaubwürdigkeit wird mit Komplexität herausfordert, man kann aber die Komplexität der Welt nicht nur glaubwürdig oder nur gefällig machen. Jedoch kann die Glaubwürdigkeit auch so sein, dass die Menschen bereit sind, die Komplexität zu verstehen, zu akzeptieren und damit gut umgehen zu können.  – Wüthrich, Fernanda C. S. (2017) Glaubwürdig oder gefällig? Eine kritische Analyse Journalismus-theoretischer Konzepte zu einem Schlüsseldilemma gesellschaftlicher Kommunikation.


Ph.D. from University of Vienna

It is an important day for me. The day I received my Ph.D. from the University of Vienna after a wonderful time of hard work with my Professor Dr. Thomas Bauer. „Credible or Pleasant? – A Critical Analysis of Concepts in Theories of Journalism to a Key Dilemma of Social Communication “ is the title my thesis that I wrote in German.

Based on the findings of Cultural Studies-oriented communication theory, the diversity of pleasantness and credibility were described throughout this these focused on Concepts in the Theories of Journalism to a Key Dilemma of Social Communication. In a social educational process, both pleasantness, as well as credibility, drive critical people to get involved. Journalism is undoubtedly a question between pleasantness and credibility.

This study analyzes the communication theory in terms of journalism and answers where is the problem between the tendency to pleasantness and the care for credibility. How journalism theories influence the relationship between credibility and pleasantness, how would it be understood and what role does play the concept of complexity in this context.

This these, therefore, provides the scientific community with a reflection and stimulus on the communication processes, directed to generating knowledge in which journalism research is understood differently: performance is not focused on the success of individual hand but on the networking of many sides. Behind this is Bauer’s communication model, which is understood in terms of cultural theory and anthropology.

In social dialogue, knowledge is generated and discourses are not reduced in their meanings to the linguistics, but rather they are seen as a practice that does much more than just discuss things and creates reality. There are communication science perspectives that can be dealt with even more adequate: the perspective of cultural studies in a conceived communication science society.

As described in this study, the potential of concepts and mechanisms (stereotypes, trust, pleasantness, credibility, media use) can be seen in the example of journalism, and a reflection on the strengthening of these potentials can be made from a cultural point of view.

Behind this is the relationship between communicator and recipient in connection with the knowledge generation, allowing the mechanism of media use in a rich knowledge cycle in which several dimensions are brought into existence. An agreement is a key aspect in this, assuming that both communicator and recipients are ready for it.

The differences and similarities between this study and other scientific works reside in the cultural discussion on the theories about journalism that take place here. In each chapter, knowledge, and communication are the focus of the answered research questions: what are the problematic aspects of the relationship between pleasantness and credibility.

For this purpose, theoretical descriptions were compiled, summarizing the theses of this study. The analysis lies in the knowledge model (Bauer, 2014) and constituted the basis for the identification of weaknesses and strengths of the theoretical approaches used.

The resulting understanding about to what extent journalism can promote or prevent the emancipatory relationship with the recipients is a contribution to the scientific community’s ability to explore and understand communications also outside the usual structures.

News values have slowly become ineffective and the selection criterion almost unnecessary. Classic communication models and approaches (e.g. the Lasswell model, the Uses-and-Gratification Approach and cognitive theories) do not adequately explain today’s media reality. Stereotypes continue to be understood as prejudices and cliches and identified with them.

The conceptualization of pleasantness and the consideration of credibility allow rethinking the journalistic use of news factors and the application of the stereotypes as elements of communication agreement in a cultural context.

Thus, an attempt is made here to make a proposal at theory level for the deconstruction of journalistic work, a step away/deviation from the structured thinking in the use of news factors and an understanding of the stereotype as a thought model of society to reach agreements.


The Role of Media Pedagogy in Post-Crisis Societies within a Globalized World

Although globalization as a phenomenon is perceived in everyday life as an economic process, it is strongly connected with culture, knowledge, communication and mediated information, forcing today’s societies to face novel communicative challenges while trying to maintain stability. For post-crisis societies, these challenges represent a new level of complexity to overcome. Many regions in the world still face conflicts and crises and will eventually face similar situations regarding their communication, media and culture. This paper uses data from two empiric studies made in post-crisis societies (Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo; studies in Santos 2010 and Shahini-Hoxhaj 2014) and analyses them through the perspective of cultural science, social systems theory, and systems thinking to answer the question: What kind of system dynamics can be helpful to generate knowledge, assuming the interactive use of media and global connection, and how can media education be an active support for the self-organization of a community in a transitional process? The societies in question are not only moving away from dictatorship, but they are also moving towards democracy, and the media as means of communication are contributing to this process. From the point of view of cultural science, the media are no longer just the producer of content for recipients. Media is the venue, the place where information, values and structures can be exchanged and discussed. Recipients and producers of information are now one and the same.

The article from Fernanda Wüthrich, Remzie Hoxhaj, Tilia Stingl could be read at


20th World Multi-Conference on Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics: WMSCI 2016 

Social Media and Privacy

Today’s advances in technology give us the opportunity to stay connected twenty-four hours a day, to do business even during sleeping hours, to meet friends or find new ones and even get married. To buy or to sell is always better and easier than before. Furthermore, exchanging private information with anybody and developing an online project is possible to free of charge. Fortunately, this available modern technology improves all possibilities in communications among people worldwide.

It is amazing how much creativity, power and independence can be achieved by people today who manage tools like Facebook, Google+, Twitter and many other social networks.

In fact, Social Media can also be used as a strong internal and external communication tool for businesses. Twitter, for example, confirms the basic communication concept. The sender has to not only be clear and concise in their postings but also be conscious of the audience and aware of the potential repercussions from information shared, otherwise s/he would not be able to communicate safely their intentions.

We see and hear about the potential pitfalls of misusing these social networks regularly in the news. They can, in fact, be used to threaten people, by simulating kidnappings and aiding and abetting other criminal activities, due to the ridiculously easy availability of unprotected personal details on these accounts. In general, people don’t realize how high their exposure is when they write. For example in Facebook, by posting about places they have visited, where they are at that precise moment or by uploading unprotected pictures of their own children. Even stating what they have recently purchased or future plans can be dangerous.

Everyone needs to be responsible for their own privacy and security. It is not possible to know who the audience is and how they intend to use this information. Unfortunately, the risk is bigger in countries with different social hierarchy and high criminality statistics. In particular, the parents of vulnerable children and teenagers should protect them from this high-risk exposure with parental control software, instead of allowing inappropriate posts of their images on Youtube and Facebook, leaving them unprotected and vulnerable to these risks. As a result, it is normal to see cloned profiles and it is also sadly used for pornographic purposes.

If people don’t start to look after their own private information, it won’t be possible to avoid threats such as kidnapping in exchange for ransom money. An unknown could call anybody and say someone from their family had been kidnapped. The criminal has all the particular life details about the potentially kidnapped person and convinces the person on the telephone receiver that they need to bring a lot of money, somewhere of their choosing in order to save/rescue the family member. How do they get this information? How do they know so many private things? It is not difficult to answer. But it is better and easier, in the long run, to think before uploading the next post on a social networking site.

Having talked about this subject affecting a personal life it should also be mentioned for instance from the corporate point of view. The companies also use social networking for their business. Writing in the name of the Company is, of course, a huge responsibility for employees and it is mostly controlled. Despite talking about themselves, the employee is in fact still using the corporate identity, they are therefore indirectly talking about the company. Mistakes, wrong or confidential information have cost some jobs already.

In order to prepare their employees, companies are training them on their social media skills, even though they don’t work directly and daily with these tools. Having given information about budget or investments without authorization, people were fired with no right to apologize themselves.

Public and private information are important aspects to reflect and work on.



Medienpädagogik und gesellschaftliche Entwicklung

Wie kann das Community-Building-Konzept zur Selbstorganisation und zum Wiederaufbau zerstörter Gesellschaften und inwiefern können Medien zur Selbstorganisation einer Gemeinschaft beitragen? Kann Medienpädagogik eine aktive Unterstützung für die Selbstorganisation einer Gemeinschaft sein? Ich konzentriere mich besonders auf die Bedeutung des Community Building und die Phasen der Entstehung von Gemeinschaften. Zum einen gehört Community Building zur Selbstorganisation und zum Wiederaufbau der Kommunikationsstrukturen in Gesellschaften (z.B. in Kriegsgebieten). Zum anderen ist Kommunikation als wichtiger Bestandteil des Community Building Voraussetzung für die Entstehung einer Gemeinschaft. Ich komme zu dem Ergebnis, dass Medien ein Mittel zur Selbstorganisation und zum gesellschaftlichen Wiederaufbau sein können.Das Buch wendet sich an Dozierende und Studierende der Kommunikations- und Medienwissenschaften, der Soziologie, der Friedens- und Konfliktforschung und der Erziehungswissenschaft. Voraussetzungen für die Entstehung einer Gemeinschaft – Medien als ein Ort für Diskussion, Selbstorganisation und -reflexion, als Vermittler von Botschaften und als Unterstützung zur Aufrechterhaltung einer Gemeinschaft – Medien und Gemeinschaftsbildung – Dokumentarfilm als Bildungsmittel – Modell Medienpädagogik und Gesellschaftliche Entwicklung.

Primeiros 10Km

Um dia depois de pedalar 50km, em 2006, encontrei meu amigo Jim Minglana que disse : “se você pedala essa distância pode correr comigo 10km”. “Quando ? – perguntei” – “próxima semana – respondeu ele já me trazendo a ficha de inscrição”. Daí comecei correndo 10Km e aquela primeira prova conclui em 1:09:58, posso dizer que competi comigo mesma, mas o que esperava era cruzar a linha final depois de subir duas ladeiras. Entre 201 participantes,nesta prova, fui a quarta colocada contando do final para o início da lista. Quando percebi que, em Viena, nao tinha o espetacular pelotão policial ao final (como no Brasil) , me apressei e terminei mesmo em 198 lugar.

Viena Maio de 2006

Minha paixão por corridas começou como torcedora e orgulhosa fã do meu pai atleta, hoje (2013) com 74 anos. Sempre acompanhada da minha câmera passei a registrar momentos mágicos, em que jovens, idosos, cadeirantes, homens e mulheres marcaram minhas idas às provas. Em um deles minha mãe, terapeuta corporal, sem qualquer experiência de corredora, acompanhou os últimos 1000 metros ao lado do meu pai, apenas para ter a certeza, que mesmo depois das sérias contusões e meses de afastamento, ele cumpriria a prova, que marcava o seu retorno às pistas. Ao meu lado, num outro dia, uma senhora de 90 anos, sentada em um banquinho de madeira, rezava para Santa Bárbara pela primeira corrida do neto. Mas foi Marivaldo, 70 anos último colocado de uma das corridas, acompanhado pelas viaturas, com a respiração comprometida, emocionou o público com seu ato de coragem e superação, lembro-me de ter gritado repetidamente, “Vaaaaaaaaaamos nao desista, você já venceu, vaaaamoss”, a vontade de todos, naquele momento, era de emprestar as próprias pernas e pulmões, felizmente, ele cruzou a linha de chegada, recebeu atendimento médico e deixou pra todos ali presentes muitas lições. Cinco meses depois, me mudei para Viena em pleno inverno (20 graus negativos) e, por muitas vezes a lembrança dessa cena me incentivou a superar os desafios em nome dos meus objetivos. Corrida para mim é sinônimo de coragem, desafio e conquista.

A vontade de correr cresceu passei a treinar cerca de 30km por semana. Ainda amadora, mas incentivada pelo meu especialíssimo personal trainer corri minha primeira meia maratona, em abril de 2007, Viena.Desta vez, 10kg mais leve desde a primeira prova, terminei o percurso em 2:40:19. Nos primeiros 10km percebi a minha melhora de tempo 1:08:51.

O treino continuou. Uma parada em Greifensee, Suiça  22 de setembro de 2007.Desta vez, 10Km,  sol muito forte e inclinações que me atrapalharam melhorar meu tempo. O lugar é lindo,  valeu  correr por  lá, embora tendo terminado em 1:12:00

Caminho da Paz festeja aniversário

Durante a caminhada, a comunidade local oferece todo apoio. Lá não existem hotéis ou pousadas e os peregrinos são acolhidos nas próprias casas da localidade. Como sempre o povoado de Alto da Lagoinha fez a diferença. “A receptividade daquela comunidade é especial”, disse Antônio Presídio, médico, terapeuta e coordenador do Projeto.

Na chegada ao Projeto Semente,  as crianças do Coral Infantil Semente fizeram uma apresentação e em seguida houve a entrega dos certificados de conclusão do Caminho.

O Caminho da Paz é uma caminhada de 165 Km de extensão, iniciando da Cidade de Amargosa, no estado da Bahia, com o objetivo de chegar ao “Projeto Semente” – um Ponto de Luz  nas montanhas do Vale do Jiquiriçá, em Ubaíra. É o primeiro do gênero, no Nordeste do Brasil, aos moldes de outros Caminhos do mundo inteiro.