How does social media affect state sovereignty?

Digitally sovereign

Internet milieus: digitally sovereigns

Internet milieus on trust and security on the Internet

Socio-demographic profile

Gender and ageYoungest group in type comparison:
Main age under 40 years, Ø 35 years
Proportion of men: 68%
life situationHigh proportion of singles and people who are unmarried
live in solid partnerships
More than a fifth still live in their parents' household
educationHighest level of education in a comparison of types:
42% have at least a university entrance qualification;
15% with a university / technical college degree
jobAbove-average share in full-time employment:
Self-employed, freelancers, qualified and managerial employees
20% are still in training;
13% work in the IT or EDP sector
incomeUpper income brackets;
41% have a monthly net household income
over 2,500 euros (total: 31%)

Digital sovereigns (15%) - 10.3 million

Internet user profile

Brief description

Digitally sovereigns are at home on the Internet and mostly grew up with the Internet (Digital natives). You have excellent IT skills and are accordingly extensive and intensive on the Internet. For them, being online is not a technical activity, but a description of the situation and thus a natural part of everyday private and professional life.

Digital sovereigns are young, independent and flexible users from upscale, post-modern milieus. You do not acquire specific IT knowledge in a targeted manner, but acquire it in a creative and playful way, i. H. mostly intuitive. You have great self-confidence in using the Internet and little fear of security. Even if they know that security and data protection on the Internet are not always guaranteed, they hardly impose any behavioral restrictions, but trust in their competence and “felt” sovereignty: “Who is most likely to survive on the Internet? - We! "

Internet and media in the world of the digitally sovereign

15 percent of Germans (10.3 million) are digitally sovereign. Representatives of this group, the youngest on average, have mostly grown up with the Internet and thus belong to the “digital natives”. Fascination with technology and relaxed optimism for progress are central motivators to deal with modern IT. Dealing with computers and the Internet is not just a matter of course for them, it is also a central part of their everyday reality. 88 percent of the digitally sovereign can no longer imagine a life without the Internet at all. It is therefore not surprising that no other group is as self-confident in the Internet as they are.

Digitally sovereigns are pioneers when it comes to the discovery and dissemination of technological innovations and are always the first to try out new offers. Accordingly, they have been connected to the Internet for the longest time in a comparison of types: a third has been online for more than ten years (32 percent, total: 21 percent), and over three quarters of this group use the Internet every day (78 percent, total: 38 percent).

The digital sovereigns are also well equipped when it comes to hardware: At home they usually use a laptop (68 percent, total: 40 percent), since flexible, location-independent use is essential: whether on the couch, at the kitchen table or on the balcony. Even in bed, one in five in this group accesses content from the web. In addition, they usually have a desktop PC (75 percent, total: 58 percent). Digitally sovereigns are “always on”: Almost every second person is equipped with a smartphone (46 percent, total: 16 percent) and almost every third person regularly goes online on the go (30 percent, total: 10 percent). Tablet PCs are also significantly more common at six percent than in the general population (two percent).

For the latest hardware components, they are also happy to allow a high budget for the purchase if the purchase gives them a technical lead. However, they do not go to an electronics wholesaler to go shopping because they suspect that this is where the seller is poorly informed. They would rather educate the staff about the latest developments from Apple, Samsung and Co. The more common way is to compare products on the internet via manufacturer websites, reviews and forums.

Digitally sovereigns are represented above average in almost all Internet activities. They have no reservations because they feel competent on the one hand and have great confidence in digital media on the other hand - the opportunities and possibilities are far more important to them than the risks. In doing so, they often use the Internet in parallel with other media (TV, music media) and equally as a work device and entertainment medium.

45 percent state that they use the web for online games (total: 27 percent) and almost half of all digitally sovereigns download free films, podcasts or music. But they are not only consumers on the Internet, they often make use of the ability to design the Internet themselves. Accordingly, they not only obtain information, but also post content themselves. By texting, commenting, blogging and posting, they actively contribute to the diversity of the offer. For example, every second person uploads digital photos and videos on the Internet (49 percent, total: 28 percent). 28 percent write actively in blogs or in forums (total: 11 percent), 15 percent operate their own homepage or blog (total: 6 percent). Through the "glocal" networking via Facebook and other social media services, they expand their scope of action on the Internet and thus also create new fields of action beyond the Internet, because they are optimally networked not only online but also offline. For example, three quarters of all digital sovereigns use social networks such as Facebook or Xing at least occasionally, while the proportion of online users is only 40 percent on average. For them, the Internet is not just a medium for communication and self-presentation, it is also a source of inspiration and a platform for exchange for new (business) ideas and experiments.

With increasing networking, not only have the boundaries between digital and non-virtual reality shifted, but also between work and leisure. For the digitally sovereign, the strict separation of professional and private life is an outdated idea of ​​an old-fashioned, inflexible society. If you spontaneously come up with a good idea, you want to secure the corresponding domain at two o'clock in the morning and not wait until the working day begins at nine on the next Monday. The fact that the boundaries between private and professional Internet use are increasingly blurring is also shown by the fact that many use the Internet at work in the office as often as at home (51 percent each). And private surfing can quickly turn into a work process, just as one can just as easily spend “office time” in a cafe.

Digitally sovereigns are individualists. They strive for their own way of life in which they want to realize themselves in a creative way. They consciously distance themselves from the conformisms and conventions of the bourgeois mainstream, which, in their opinion, is too stuck in restricted boundaries and routines. Digitally sovereigns want to make a difference in their lives and develop great enthusiasm for pursuing their own life issues and passions. They think geographically and mentally in global dimensions and represent a liberal, cosmopolitan attitude. Against this background, the Internet provides the ideal framework for discovering, developing, networking and marketing new things without local or time restrictions.

Typical quotes about internet usage

"I am self-employed as a set and costume designer and rely on permanent contact online, e. B. with directors etc. I am more or less dependent on them, so I have to be reachable and in good contact with them. I have to expand my network, get orders, make a name for myself in the industry. "

“I can coordinate my band via Facebook, which I only market online anyway. I put music videos on YouTube. "

“I read emails, market my band's musical products on Facebook. Then I buy books on the Internet and of course I do a lot of research on people and knowledge on the Internet. I use Wikipedia a lot. "

“Yes, I now use it a lot with my iPhone. I use it most of the time on my iPhone and then on my computer at work. "

"I'm always online, yes."

“In the beginning I was like a little kid and I used it all the time. I've got square eyes. In the meantime I have decimated its use again, but already on a daily basis. I don't think it's bad that you have it all the time. You can use it personally whenever you want. And that means you can use it for a shorter time. So it's actually sporadic and flexible. That is pretty good."

“It always has a specific purpose. I either want to get information or communicate. "

“I can move much more freely physically. I don't have to sit at the desk. I can lie, sit, stand. It doesn't matter at all. I am simply more physically flexible thanks to the smartphone. "

Attitude to and understanding of security and data protection on the Internet

As intensive Internet users, the issues of security and data protection are very important to this type of setting (33 percent, total: 26 percent). However, due to their competence in dealing with the Internet and their pronounced self-confidence, they do not worry very much that they could be harmed by data misuse.

Nevertheless, dealing with the data protection issue sometimes causes unease among the digitally sovereign with a view to the social and political consequences of uncontrolled data collections. If more security is to be gained with the help of data retention, this arouses negative associations in the direction of “surveillance state” or “transparent citizen”. Used as a monitoring instrument, digital sovereigns fear that the Internet could or is already being misused for anti-democratic purposes. In this respect, they react sensitively when it comes to the socio-political dimension of the topic and the question of whether the state should actively ensure security on the Internet.

In everyday life, however, this segment of society is more relaxed about data protection. Three quarters of this type admit that they disclose personal information about themselves, such as pictures, thoughts, etc. on blogs and in social networks, and at the same time assume that their personal data is stored securely or rather securely - also if they can often no longer understand exactly where they have already disclosed it. Basic trust is granted as an advance. One would wish that this annoying task would be organized in a more user-friendly manner and that one would be better protected overall, but on the other hand there is little concern. You rely on your own media and internet competence and confidently stand by what you publish about yourself on the internet or in social networks.

Digitally sovereigns are not afraid, rather they are simply annoyed or tired of waving their hand when they receive personalized advertising emails and "fake" lottery wins / invoices, etc. They resign themselves to the fact that the Internet is a public space and is used by different interest groups for their own advantages, and even argue like no other group that the Internet remains a free medium that should not be regulated under any circumstances ( 72 percent, total: 49 percent). For digitally sovereigns, the advantages offered by the new communication options outweigh the advantages. Data security gaps are part of the compromise one willingly makes for a free network. Whether online shopping, online banking or social networks, readiness for use always exceeds security concerns.

In order to minimize the risks, this group appeals to the independent and consistent action of Internet users: Targeted selection of published information or photos, regular information about existing security leaks, especially with the large Internet monopolists, and use of the latest security software. With this self-confident attitude, the digitally sovereigns think they are largely in control of what traces they leave behind on the Internet. In doing so, they also transfer their claim to Internet competence across the board to other Internet users: everyone is responsible for their own data protection (principle of personal fault). In this paradigm, the individualistic attitude of this group becomes clear, which has little understanding for the problems of inexperienced Internet users, especially because the technology is now so user-friendly and self-explanatory.

When it comes to data security, the digitally sovereigns feel well equipped. They regularly back up their data and use the latest security programs. Against this background, they see the technical problem of data security, in terms of protection against data loss (documents, images), as largely solved.

With all security precautions, the digitally sovereigns are nevertheless aware that it is always only a "perceived security". One is most likely to trust institutions like
E.g. banks and providers with certified payment options. Paypal is very popular with them as a trustworthy payment tool. Nevertheless, a direct contact person is definitely important when it comes to banking and administrative procedures. Here, the digitally sovereigns hope that they will “turn a blind eye” if something has been missed - this option does not exist with online processing. Trust also convey the effort to create a "watertight" security concept and security updates that are carried out regularly. Compared to global players like Facebook and other large companies, it is rhetorically cultivated that they are basically not concerned with security, but only with "confidence-building measures" in order to win and retain customers. But you would definitely not do without Facebook, you just have to know how to use it properly.

Rights contained in the Basic Law should also apply online - just like most laws. The state as a guarantor of law and freedom enjoys a comparatively high level of trust among the digital sovereigns - but this must not be overstrained. The state should contribute to security on the Internet, but it must not control it!

Enlightenment, this is the delegative demand of the digital sovereigns, is particularly necessary among “the others” because large parts of the user base (especially among the “kids”) lack critical awareness. You yourself know that the Internet is a public space and therefore not only harbors opportunities, but also risks. However, you are not afraid of these security risks because you rely on your own IT and Internet competence.

This perceived sovereignty sometimes leads to an underestimation of risks and an overestimation of one's own internet competence.

Digital sovereigns (15%) - 10.3 million

Settings profile

Typical quotes on security and data protection on the Internet

“I generally don't trust Internet services. But the danger is not so great that I would not use it. And if someone really wants to locate me or slam me with marketing offers, they should stop. If you want to deal with my private life, have fun! "

"When future bosses or HR managers google you, I find it silly and just think: 'If you had asked me, I would have told you too'."

“For me, there [data protection on the Internet] tend to be associated with negative feelings. I am thinking of the surveillance state and I find that dangerous. I have fears and doubts about the term. "

“I'm not so hysterical about it. I make backups on a regular basis and I assume that it will last. "

"Data security on the Internet is important, but for me it is a thousand times more relevant that I am not attacked or ambushed on the street."

“I have the feeling that I often have to be much more careful. But at the same time I can't change it anyway. "

“Less and less private things remain private, there are more and more opportunities to get everything from everyone. But at the same time, people are increasingly protecting themselves from others noticing too much. "

“If the government had access to all the data and used it improperly, for a computer manhunt or something. I don't want a surveillance state, as was the case in the GDR. "

“If someone assumed my identity, that would be the worst for me. So would do all sorts of activities under my name and you would be completely helpless. "

"What would be bad? The government kills members of the opposition, even though he was in hiding, because of the analysis of cell phone data. "

“PayPal is a sign of trust. Other payment methods are too time-consuming and / or I don't trust them that much. In addition, if I bid for something and use PayPal, the goods will be sent immediately. That is safer than with a bank transfer. And I don't have to give my account details to a lot of different Ebay users. "

“Actually, I don't trust Facebook as a medium, you keep hearing reports that you have to tick the private settings. But by using it knowing that it is not safe, I behave in such a way that it cannot be uncomfortable or dangerous for me. "

Trend profile - digitally sovereign

Explanations of the trend profile

With regard to socio-cultural trends, digital sovereigns show a great deal of closeness Digital culture. Not least because they grew up with the Internet, the medium is of course integrated into their everyday lives. However, digitally sovereigns are not “nerds” who are only on the Internet for themselves. You feel the need to be with others and to benefit from each other, to experience fun and excitement together and to try out new things. New media are primarily a means to an end, not the content itself.

I trust is the central term for the strong expression in Autonomy and Adaptive navigation. Your own life is a project that you develop out of yourself, relying on your own abilities. With self-responsibility and self-management, digital sovereigns are open and curious about the opportunities in life in order to actively use them for their own success (performance ethos) and the permanent development of their personality. Openness and diversity, as well as new ways of thinking, are seen as an opportunity and even a necessity both for one's own life and for society in order to meet the more complex requirements of global contexts in a positive and creative way (Diversity). The networking and constant availability of the new media offer opportunities for this that are actively used. Hedonism The digital sovereigns do not find it as crude hedonism, but rather as a general experience orientation in a combination of fun, active enjoyment and - not taking place - performance. Entertainment opportunities on the Internet, both passive and creative, are used with pleasure and often.

Home picture collage: digitally sovereigns

case 1

This collage shows the apartment of a student of cultural studies. She is 24 years old and single. Overall, the apartment is very clearly arranged. The first picture on the top left shows your living room, in which the individual (furnishing) items have clearly assigned places. A picture with a retro motif hangs on the wall: the VW Bullis depicted on them are cult symbols of the surfing scene.

All rooms appear very bright and clear. There are only a few representational objects in the apartment, which makes the individual objects more important. Digitally sovereigns appreciate and stage what they own (see the shoes on display on the shelf); you don't want to just fill an apartment. Digital media are dominant: the plasma flat screen with the DVD shelf underneath, the Apple laptop on the desk and an additional desktop station. These technical devices not only indicate omnipresent multimedia use, but also demonstrate belonging to modern digital lifestyle culture.

Home picture collage: digitally sovereigns

Case 2

The second collage shows the apartment of a 26-year-old business student who lived in Australia for a few years and is single.

Compared to case 1, it is noticeable that the rooms are lavish, less minimalistic. The room is furnished with a bed, a bureau with a chair and several cupboards and open shelves that are stocked with books and other personal items.

Here, too, an effort to aestheticize the everyday environment through a conscious mix of styles can be seen: The white MacBook is on an antique secretary, the heater is converted into a decorative board, an old mirror cabinet is attached above it, a brown table with a white chair and green cushions combined.