Alexandra is an Australian citizen and an experienced expat, having spent (quite a bit of) time in A...
Social networking in the Netherlands19 August 2013, by Alexandra Gowling
Social networks are very popular in the Netherlands, with on average 85 per cent of the Dutch internet audience (10 million people) using one of them in recent months.
Of the various networks available, Facebook is the most popular, with just over half of the whole Dutch population using the world’s biggest social network. Second most popular is LinkedIn, with just under half that audience, followed closely by Twitter.
The Dutch social network Hyves is most popular with older users, with two-thirds of their users over 35, while half of Tumblr’s users are under 35. More people in the 45 to 55 age bracket use Twitter and LinkedIn, while the largest age group, surprisingly perhaps, for Facebook users are the over 55s.
The reach of Facebook
According to Facebook Benelux, 6,1 million Dutch people log on to their accounts every day, which is unsurprising as the Dutch use the internet almost more than anyone else in Europe.
People in the Netherlands are also using smartphones more and more, as seen in the 77 per cent of Facebook users who check their account on their smartphone or tablet. Of these six million users, 4,6 million log in every day.
That is great news for Facebook, obviously. Talking about the figures, the director of Facebook Benelux Arno Lubrun said, "We want to show that Facebook has a wide range on mobiles. Mobile is the new TV. With six million mobile users, we have twice as much range as popular [Dutch] TV shows."
But is it healthy?
According to research just published by scientists from the University of Michigan, frequent use of Facebook may have a detrimental effect on the well-being of young adults.
The researchers followed 82 young people over a period of two weeks, sending them five text messages at random times every day asking about how happy, lonely or anxious they were at that moment. Then were also asked whether they had spent a lot of time on Facebook or whether they had had a lot of "real" social contact.
Results showed that the more people used Facebook at one time, the worse they felt the next time they were text messaged. It was also found that the more the subjects used Facebook over the two weeks, the more their life satisfaction levels had declined by the end of that time.
By contrast, interacting with other people "directly" did not show such negative outcomes. In fact, direct social interactions led people to feel better over time.
The researchers want to investigate further, looking at more social networks and expanding the age groups examined. In the meantime, Facebook and the other social networks in the Netherlands seem set to continue to grow.