Germany needs to catch up with digitalisation! – This was one of the slogans used by various political parties to win the parliamentary elections last year. And it is indeed a major concern in economy and society that progress in digitalisation is too slow. Around 85 % of the German population use internet, this puts German only on rank 8th on a global scale. More than 30 % of German households do not possess a wideband line, enabling at least 50 Mbit per second.
Maybe it is the dragging digitalisation, which explains the less enthusiastic use of social media among German citizens. Only every second uses them regularly and also the average time spent is below-average. However, scarce usage cannot be said about younger generations, as a recent study found out that over 80 % of the 18 to 34 year olds use social networks daily. Most popular is Facebook with a market share of 60%. This is followed by Pinterest with 18%, while You Tube, Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr follow with a share between 7 and 3 %.
Nevertheless, journalists have been recently discussing the term “Social-Media-Democracy”. There is an overall tendency among intellectuals to warn against trolls and polarisation in social networks. They fear that social media users get caught in so-called “filter bubbles” where there is no positive discourse, but mere encouragement of identification via dissociation.
Since January 2018 a highly disputed new law compels social media provider to remove illegal content like hate speeches and agitation more quickly.
Political parties have certainly recognised the immense importance of social media. Most of them maintain by now a separate team which manages its online activities. However, also other political organisations use only platforms as a means to organise themselves.
By the way, 8.4 Mio. Germans use only dating-platforms regularly and around 30 % of all relations have started online!
by Schirin H.