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Are Germans right to distrust social media?

Rightly or wrongly, Germany is turning out to be more cautious than most other countries when it comes to adopting social media. Perhaps this is not surprising, given the nation’s reluctance to embrace credit cards (in which they were very much proved right) and preference for sticking to cash instead. And remember that this is also the nation which has effectively told Google Streetview to get lost, seeing it as an invasion of privacy.

Website www.germany-statistics.com has been charting the penetration of the likes of Facebook and Twitter, and quotes the following figures: ‘Germany holds tenth place in terms of Facebook users, with 22.6 million people registered from Germany on the website. The largest number of users is within the age group 25-34, followed by 19-24 years. The popularity of Twitter has increased for the past one year. It is the 17th most popular website in terms of visits. The enterprise level social network website “LinkedIn” users for Germany ranks second and has 2 million users. The Facebook penetration rate in Germany is 28.26 percent. SchuelerVZ, which is the biggest social network in Germany for school students, has 7.4 million students as its members, ranging from ages 12 to 18 years old. In terms of business networks apart from LinkedIn, Xing dominates in the German market. Since, Germans tend to be very private and do not freely share their personal information: they feel that storing their personal data online is not safe.’

They may be right. This very interesting clip from youtube is from neighbouring Belgium, but its message is universal, and it seems to support the case for being extremely cautious online. Salutary stuff.

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