Iceland Goes Facebook

Views

According to the local newspaper Morgunbladid, 60 percent of Icelanders are members of Facebook, 60.79 percent, to be exact. Wow. The whole article can be found here (in Icelandic).

The newspaper refers to a study published by a Norwegian business website called E 24. In the past three years the number of Facebook accounts owned by Icelandic citizens has apparently increased from 1,000 to 190,000—an increase of 19,000 percent. That's what I call mushroom growth!

If only that was the number of millionaires in the country (and I was one of them), the improving standard of life, happiness or unemployed people finding new jobs...

The only nation that managed to top Iceland in the usage of Facebook is the British Virgin Islands. I suggest that the remaining 40 percent who haven't signed up yet do so immediately so Iceland can claim the pole position and make it into the Guinness Book Of Records.

The top ten list of Facebooking nations goes as followed: The British Virgin Islands, Iceland, Gibraltar, Cayman Islands, Monaco, Faroe Islands, Hong Kong, Singapore, Norway and Qatar. What an interesting mix.

Unfortunately, the survey doesn't dig deeper in what all these places have in common but I guess everyone has an idea.

But why this enormous enthusiasm for Facebook in Iceland?

To begin with, it's a well known fact that Icelanders are crazy about all new technical gadgets; almost every household is armed with high-tech equipment. Icelanders are generally up-to-date and fast in adopting the latest gimmick.

It seems that everyone has at least two cell phones and a shiny MacBook; wireless internet can be found in most coffee house and private homes.

Yes, Icelanders are very good in technology.

And secondly, we don't have to discuss the attraction of Facebook. It's almost impossible to not get around the social networking portal with more than 400 million active users all over the world.

Therefore it's not surprising that so many Icelanders log on to the most popular networking website. But almost 61 percent? I hadn't expected the rate to be that high, to be honest. That means more than every other person has a Facebook account.

For comparison: Germany has 9,948 million users which is about 12 percent of the country's population.

Is this development good or rather concerning?

Surely Facebook is debatable but it would take too long to discuss the pros and cons of it in detail here.

Although it is certainly preferable to have such a booming increase in more important areas, I still regard it as positive development. That's because I have noticed an interesting thing about Icelanders and Facebook which I would like to share with you.

My Icelandic friends have started posting more and more political and social stuff on their Facebook accounts like interviews, commentaries, articles, links etc.

I get asked all the time to join somebody's cause, be it a protest against some politician or bank manager, or a group campaigning for the environmental protection of Iceland’s nature. And I'm surely not the only one who has noticed this tendency.

It seems as if the Icelandic Facebook user—allow me to generalize—gets way more involved nowadays with politics, nature conservation and social matters.

Facebook appears to be the right platform for people to organize protests and social interests. The more people that are united in their interests, the more likely they are to achieve their aims.

I was told it was typical that Icelanders complained a lot about political or social drawbacks but never took any further actions. It seems this has changed for the better in the past two years and I dare say Facebook might have helped a bit.

And now I have to go to update my status.

Katharina Hauptmann – Katha.hauptmann@gmail.com

Views expressed here are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Iceland Review.