Social Media in Russia: Power To The People!

(^MK) Imagine you just turned 18 years old. Looking back at your youth, what would you think? Maybe you’ll think that the time went by so quickly. Maybe you will notice that you have learnt so much, but there is still so much ahead of you (university, work, etc). As an 18-year-old you gained your first experiences, such as travelling, your first girlfriend or passing a major exam. But you are still young. You still have many more things to learn and understand – compared to somebody who is alive for 222 years.

I am comparing the young live of the democratic Russian Federation with the life of a young man. On December 25, 1991 the communist Soviet Union ceased to exist – and a new democratic Russian country was born. Back in 1787, the United States Constitution was adopted by the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, PA and laid out foundation for the North American democracy. The American people is a 222 years old democracy.

And as everybody agrees upon, media is essential for democracy. Here lays maybe my key insight when I did research for today’s QOTV: it is essential for corporate communicators to understand the fact that a young democracy is using the Internet slightly different than the people of the democratic Western hemisphere.

 social media in russia is on the rise!As our class literature Kiss, Bow, Or Shake Hands by Morrison and Conaway reveals, it is not customary for Russian people to disclose personal information, such as telephone numbers. The result of that is, for example, that no official residential phone book exists. From that, one can conclude that Russians, suspicious of political leadership, tend to be careful to publish personal information online (through social media outlets for instance).  This is an important fact for doing online business, which tracks names, addresses, credit card numbers, etc.

Another good insight for implications related to the young media democracy is the fact that the demise of the communism party has changed the Russians social structure and taken a lot stability form one day to another. Kiss, Bow, Or Shake Hands outlines that this stability is now being sought in new different institutions, such as church – and social groups.

As the examples, Odnoklassniki and VKontakte show, the influence of social media is growing in Russia: Both social networking sites combine more than 60M users. However, related to the total Russian population of about 140,000,000 this is still a small percentage.  However, the Internet penetration will grow. And with it the influence and power of social media will grow. As a corporate communicator, it is essential to understand the Russian way to use social media. Even though it hasn’t grown to its full potential yet. It’s still a young nation – in terms of publicizing and accessing free information.

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One Response to Social Media in Russia: Power To The People!

  1. The point you seem to make in this post, that social media represents a growing opportunity in Russia, is a good one. You also take the lessons in our cultural reading to heart and get to know more about Russia as a country, which adds significant context to your post and is something that many of your classmates clearly skipped doing. There are a few inconsistencies in your post, though, that have the potential to confuse the reader. For example, you state that Russians are reluctant to share personal information onlne, and then point out the rapid growth of two Russian social networking sites that are quite popular. The numbers, too, seem confusing as you point out there are 60M users of these social networks from a popular of 140M – which seems to be a quite high number or ratio, but you seem to minimize this in your post. Another report from our class reading for the week made the point that by the numbers it could seem that close to 100% of the entire Internet population for Russia is registered on one of those two sites:

    http://blog.freshnetworks.com/2009/03/russia-the-fourth-largest-social-networking-market-in-europe/

    You may or may not agree with these numbers – but you need to account for them, and share a point of view on why you think they may be overblown (if you feel that way). For the next post, be sure to try and map out the main point that you want to share at the beginning of your post, and then spend your time being sure you support that point and leave the reader with a clear sense of what you want to share. (2)

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