German Communication & Technology–Texting via SMS is not the go-to for many German citizens or at least not among the young crowd. The data plans here in Germany are not as good as they are in the U.S., which deters many to use it due to the costs. Using WhatsApp is the most popular form of communication in Germany. This particular app is used by many people because it enables a free way to communicate with anyone local or abroad.
Cellular devices also known as a “handy” in German are prevalent, but I’ve observed less people glued to their cellular devices here, than back home. Even young kids (kinder) are not walking around with their phones in their faces constantly.
Wi-Fi is prevalent but it is not always free. Since I have been here, I have not stumbled upon any free hotspots. After consulting my host sister, who just turned 21 this weekend, I learned that free Wi-Fi is common in bigger cities and some malls around Germany (i.e. Hamburg).
Social media is also popular here, but not so much Facebook and Twitter as it is in the States. Instagram is quite popular here due to the visual dependent era we are living in. Snapchat would be the next biggest social media tool used in Germany among the younger generation. My host sister acknowledged that Facebook is now being cluttered with videos and not highlighting real content about her friends. Oddly enough, Twitter is also not very popular here, even though it has exploded in the U.S. and other countries. The company I am interning for does not have a Twitter page because its audience doesn’t use the platform. This just proves that it is very important for public relation specialists to research the best means of communication to reach their audiences.
If one compared the technology use between Germany and the United Sites, not much difference would be noticed. My host sister did state that that when it comes to technology trends, it doesn’t quite register as popular in Germany for a year or two later.
One example she brought up was the “Fitbit” trend and how it has just now found its footing in the German culture. Why do think this is so? The term fitness is very popular in the U.S. and so when devices like the Fitbit were announced, many people rushed to purchase them.
When it comes to restrictions of technology in Germany, the only apparent one I noticed was with YouTube. Not all but some videos and songs of popular American artists are literally blocked here in Germany. My host sister believes the country may not have the license to play the music videos or songs.
So when visiting Germany, keep in mind that Wi-Fi is very limited unless in a large city and texting using SMS is not used much at all. With that being said, downloading WhatsApp before arriving to the country will help if there was a need to communicate with locals.