Any discussion about the parameters of online social networking is like trying to describe a landscape from a moving train: the view keeps changing as one is attempting to process it. This essay examines surveys and reports from a variety of sources, both Russian and international, in an attempt to create a relatively cohesive snapshot of Russian social media use in the spring of 2009, as seen from this moving train. My findings explore Russian Internet penetration in general, with a focus on the distinctions between Moscow and the rest of Russia, the popularity of various blogging and social networking sites, and the online habits of average and active users. In conclusion, I suggest that the locus of online social activity in Russia may be shifting from blogs and blog/social network hybrids to pure social networking sites, a stylistic shift from keeping an “online diary” for an interactive network of “readers” to simply (re)connecting with friends.
Language of contribution: English