The IS in Us – What We Learn About Ourselves from Terroristic Communication Strategies


Eine Veranstaltung der re:publica

A multilingual corporate-publishing magazine, a web series intended to provide insight into everyday life in one to two-minute segments, and numerous recruiting videos accompanied by music. In addition, an extensive network of sympathisers on almost all popular social networks, numerous platforms of their own, and perhaps soon their own TV station. There’s little in the arsenal of modern business communications that the Islamic State’s propaganda machine hasn’t been able to make use of.
For this purpose, the IS has built up a powerful media organisation called the Al Hayat Media Centre, which primarily produces content intended to be spread virally across the Internet. Stylistically, the IS media developers draw from popular films and video games. In distributing their content, they take advantage of the enormous vibrancy and reach of social networks. With this strategy, the IS bypasses the traditional gatekeepers and speaks directly to its public.
Vice magazine is one of a number of media institutions that can be viewed as a stylistic model for these IS activities. Vice offers its predominantly young audience on the Web a multimedia mix of everyday activities, entertainment, and provocative content. It’s exactly this youth culture that the brains behind the IS propaganda have in mind. But while Vice celebrates the liberal Western lifestyle and its pursuit of self-realisation, the IS targets its message precisely to those who can’t or don’t want to participate in this milieu.
We examine the traces of IS propaganda online, analyse the composition and organisation of its content – and occasionally realise how frighteningly similar it is to the media world we know and love.


Sascha Stoltenow

Thomas Wiegold, Head Blogger, Augen geradeaus!