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Educated Germans avoid social media

Conor Dillon November 25, 2015

The quality of education is on the rise in Germany. And that implies, uniquely amongst its peers, that fewer people in Germany will be using social media in the future.

A thumb points downward
Image: Colourbox/Maxx-Studio

Germans are celebrating some cheery data tucked inside this year's OECD "Education at a glance interim report," which speaks of relatively high teacher-to-student ratios, excellent integration of children with migratory backgrounds, higher numbers of masters degrees and nearly twice as many doctorate degrees (5.4 percent) compared to the OECD average (2.4 percent).

Good news - unless you're a social media company operating in Germany.

Germany is the only country in the 34-nation OECD group where higher education levels are associated with significantly less social media use.

Just take a look at the OECD's data:

The question is: Why?

Wouldn't educated people have higher incomes - and therefore more gadgets and data plans - to peruse social media in their free time?

Or is it historical? Have well-educated Germans better internalized the lessons of German history under Nazi and communist rule? Do they therefore distrust the collection of their data more than in other countries?

Or is it instead a sign that the well educated in Germany are simply satisfied with their rustling newspapers, weekly magazines and evening news programs? Do they better trust traditional German media sources? An extension of this argument is that educated individuals in countries like Turkey or Hungary, whose media records are less than pristine, are seeking raw, unfiltered and accurate information beyond state-controlled channels.

Galileo, a German science show, mentioned the issue on Twitter - but simply sidestepped it to provide its own unique assessment of what the OECD data means.

"Whoever's reading this here," says the German-language tweet, "is dumb."