Information and Facts

What exactly is social media?

Everybody knows what social media is, but not everybody can properly explain it. Does it really only include Facebook and Xing or does Wikipedia also count?
The name social media attempts to define something which is rapidly and constantly developing in various directions.

Defining social media:

Social media can essentially be defined as being everything that permits social exchange on the internet. This definition encompasses not only social networks, but also blogs, photos, video portals, Wikis and websites with commentary functions. In effect this means any website which enables its users to interact and benefit from a snowball or multiplier effect, i.e. where one person knows another, who knows another and so on. Exchange is therefore the key word in social media.

The extent of social exchange on the internet is immense. Over 3,500 million messages, links and videos have been posted on Facebook (analysis conducted at the start of 2010) and more than 25 million short messages are posted on Twitter. The fascination with the internet and the vast exchange of information is growing every day. As social media is still in its infancy, it is a good idea to look back at the early days of the telephone or television and to ask the question: where will the free exchange of social information be in ten years’ time?

However, one thing is true: whether it is Facebook, Twitter, Youtube or Xing – there is hardly a company out there which does not take advantage of social media or some other form of internet application to market itself.

Effective marketing and PR strategies now specifically use social media to increase brand and company name awareness, to better place products on the market and to establish existing product ranges. There is hardly a better platform for marketing than the largely free social network sites which are used by millions of active users.

Even in terms of private use, users have been captivated by the quick, free and uncomplicated exchange of information. Messages, purchasing tips, events and content of all kinds are exchanged in seconds.

Advice:

The fact that the use of social networks also carries numerous legal risks is not a topic which most people want to think about. This is demonstrated by the explosion in the number of legal warning letters being sent in recent years.

Our law firm is available to give you advice on how to avoid legal difficulties with unwanted consequences including cases of stalking in the internet, costly legal warning letters and other undesirable consequences arising from being active on social media websites.

German lawyer, Christian Solmecke, has been monitoring and analysing legal developments in the field of social media for a number of years and uses his considerable experience to provide detailed and considered advice.

Christian Solmecke of WILDE BEUGER SOLMECKE is available to answer your questions about your internet profiles – he looks forward to hearing from you. Contact us on +49 (0) 221 / 951 563 0.

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Christian Solmecke is a partner at the law firm WILDE BEUGER SOLMECKE. He is the author of numerous legal publications in the area of internet and IT law. He is also an associate lecturer for social media law at the Cologne University of Applied Sciences.

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