As in the previous article, this one deals with the representation of Mainz in other media such as Facebook or Twitter. But before I introduce you to Mainz on these forums, I’d like to discuss the dependency of people on social media.
Facebook and Co. – unrealistic?
Each of us has a laptop, a tablet and a mobile phone with Internet connection, would be bad or out if not. Life in today’s society takes place predominantly via social media (mediatization), one could also say that the social media have society under control (Markowetz 2015 or so): having a user profile everywhere, always being online and up-to-date, following the important influencers and being trendy is a must. The same applies to the presentation of one’s own person or lifestyle on portals such as Instagram or Facebook (Fontaine 2013: 42). These portals are increasingly gaining the upper hand over our lives, because if you look at the outside world, you will always see people staring at their mobile phones without noticing their environment (Markowetz 2015 n.a.).
We actually only live to present ourselves, to make others envious and yet to be loved. No matter where we are, no matter what we do, we have to capture it for the virtual world, the community that follows us has to know what we are doing and where we are. Unfortunately, this makes people addicted to these media, so they can be compared to drugs. But these media are so important today to promote oneself, a product or, as in our case, a city.
Most Internet users own a Facebook account. More than 2.27 billion active monthly users (as of September 2018) (Facebook Newsroom 2018) use the network created by Marc Zuckerberg.
It first went online in 2003, was improved until 2004 and since then we have been using Facebook as we know it today. Find friends all over the world, post pictures from your holidays, update your status or simply share a song with your friends, it all works through Facebook (Facebook Newsroom 2018). Videos, posts to other bulletin boards, video calls, or simply posting your own status online are also very easy with Facebook. On Facebook, my own profile can be used as a self-portrait, but many companies, firms or groups also use Facebook to show themselves to the world. There are an infinite number of pages in Facebook that deal with Mainz and thus also publish pictures or texts about the city. Known sites are “Best of Mainz”, “The city of Mainz” or the site of “FSV Mainz 05”.
Mainz on Facebook
If you open Facebook and enter Mainz as a search term in the bar, countless hits with the word will be found. Almost every hit is an interest group that Mainz wants to show through its perspective. So it is the football club of the “1.FSV”, which shows some snapshots of Mainz, but mainly its players, pictures of Bundesliga match days or training units. “The Best of Mainz” page shows Mainz again from a different perspective, namely by means of its traditional simplicity. Mainz from another touristic perspective is shown on the page “Mainz.Toruistik”. Topics are addressed that are currently topical in Mainz, such as the festive opening of the 5th season, i.e. Carnival in Mainz, various exhibitions that take place in Mainz, such as the peace bell in the Christuskirche or the site serves for advertising purposes for special events that will take place in Mainz, such as the Mainz summer lights in summer 2019 or the Christmas market. Another page that is found high up on the topic of Mainz is that of the Mercurist. On this page several news related to Mainz will be published. The state capital Mainz also has its own Facebook page to present Mainz perfectly for visitors, tourists and local.
A small twittering bird as an app on the mobile phone and everyone knows immediately which platform it is: Twitter.
The blogger service, which was first launched on the market in 2006, is one of the most popular platforms in the world, just like Facebook or Twitter (Deutsche Startups o. J.). With over 326 million active users (Futurebiz.de 2018), Twitter not only serves celebrities as a communication platform, but is also used by various users. In addition to celebrities such as Justin Bieber, Katy Perry and Beyonce, political parties and police stations also use the service. The parties conduct election campaigns with the help of Twitter and the police use hashtags to warn of accidents, assassinations or generally provide information to society. With a limit of 140 characters, tweets can contain YouTube links or general links in addition to information. With the already mentioned tweets the authors can address their followers, generate new ones and let their thoughts run free. Meanwhile, the number of characters has doubled to 280, leaving more room for the author to share his thoughts with the world (news.ORF.at or A.).
The Illustrated History of Twitter is a YouTube video that you’re welcome to watch to better understand the story. The blogger service Twitter also serves as a platform to represent Mainz through tweets. As already stated on Facebook, there are certain groups of people or organizers on Twitter who represent Mainz, such as the Mainz 05er or the city of Mainz, who have their own account. They show Mainz according to their group of people, ergo: Mainz 05er mostly refer to the club, while the city mainly takes care of events in and around Mainz. The police station in Mainz or the Mainz fire brigade also have a Twitter account, which is used to bring reports to the readers as quickly as possible.
But what about the Hashtags to Mainz? Which tweets can be found? If you look for the #Mainz on Twitter, you will find police reports around Mainz at first glance. In addition, Twitter users use the platform to express their displeasure, so many comments about the dissatisfaction with the politics in Mainz can be found. A few users post pictures of the city of Mainz and tag them with the #Mainz. But most tweets are simple information tweets, like police tweets or users asking questions about events taking place in Mainz, e.g. state parliament sessions or loud sirens in Mainz.
Twitter, if you’re looking for a city like Mainz, it’s more like an information platform that serves to pass this information on, rather than presenting Mainz in a way, unless the account serves as the account of an institution in Mainz like Mainz 05. Mainz is promoted on Facebook more as a city, you have more opportunities to show the city from your own perspective. Facebook thus serves to show Mainz from his point of view or to present the city in such a way that it offers an incentive for visitors and tourists. Also the own interest of the respective page operators must not be disregarded. On Twitter, it’s more like passing on information about what’s happening in Mainz or current contributions to events in the city. Here you don’t have too much leeway to present Mainz like on Facebook. Sure, you can also post pictures online on Twitter, but these pictures are rather rare with the Hashtag Mainz.
So you can say that on Facebook you rather have the possibility to present Mainz in a unique way, this function is rather lost on Twitter. Nevertheless, the city can be presented on both platforms, in very different ways, but the possibility exists. Basically, many platforms offer the possibility to represent places, but the question is whether people use this option or rather promote themselves.
Deutsche Startups (o. J.): Die Geschichte von Twitter – als gezeichnetes Meisterwerk. Internet: https://www.deutsche-startups.de/2014/07/05/die-geschichte-von-twitter/ (10.10.2018).
Facebook-Newsroom (2018): Unternehmen. Internet: https://de.newsroom.fb.com/company-info/ (10.10.2018).
Fontaine, F. (2013): Urlaub 2.0. Die Nutzung Sozialer Medien bei Urlaubsreisen am Beispiel von Facebook. Hamburg.
FutureBiz (2018): Twitter Statistiken 2018: Entwicklung Nutzerzahlen, Nutzerwachstum & Umsatz. Internet: http://www.futurebiz.de/artikel/twitter-statistiken-nutzerzahlen/ (10.10.2018).
Markowetz, A. (2015): Digitaler Burnout. Warum unsere permanente Smartphone-Nutzung gefährlch ist. München.
News.orf.at (2016): Twitter lockert 140-Zeichen-Regel. Internet: https://orf.at/v2/stories/2358767 (10.10.2018).