Katerina Naumova
Internet / Technology Reporter
Moscow. Russia

The volume of content-sharing in Russia has naturally grown with the expansion of broadband access as well as gadget sales growth. Despite the current economic crisis people continue to buy digital and video cameras, smartphones and other gadgets. Interesting that amidst crisis sales of smartphones are still soaring – in the second quarter all largest vendors in Russia i.e. Nokia, Samsung, Apple and Research In Motion smartphones sales beat expectations. Also while compact digital cameras sales are falling, people continue to buy expensive professional cameras.

At the same time companies (like large search and web portals like yandex.ru and mail.ru) are providing more and more free uploading services, there are more and more RapidShare analogs, for example free and unlimited file share service turbobit.net. A large volume of this content gets shared via social networks and popular Russian social networks like odnoklassniki.ru and vkontakte.ru (very similar to Facebook and has recently announced plans to go global) which are gradually increasing their features and services. They dominate in Russia and global networks have failed to make an impact. For a user pictures and videos are the easiest way to enrich a social network profile and many Russians have taken full advantage!
Uploaded content itself stays quite simple – personal photos traveling or with kids, personal videos or embedded music videos. Comments are numerous but brief and often consist of just a smilie.

Russian blogosphere is something special. Despite large number of existing blogs Russian blog culture stays underdeveloped. Most blogs in Russian are hosted by large web hosting services like LiveJournal.com and LiveInternet.ru. Currently a large part of blogs is not regularly updated, people try and it and don’t stick with it. There are a lot of blog readers and few active bloggers and some blogs such as (tema.livejournal.com) now have a huge readership.

Readers are young and mostly female, writers are older males (average internet user is around 30 years old). Personal blogs remain rather primitive. The entry may consist of short text describing blogger’s day (often in microblog format) or is presented as photo and comment or video and comment. A lot of posts occur as reaction to political or other important news as happened recently. As with many other markets, the more sophisticated bloggers are journalists, PR-specialists and politically engaged bloggers.
As for microblogging which is still not very popular mostly because of the language – the sites as well as users there are mostly US/English. However mass interest in Twitter is just arising, there are some Russian analogs as well (tweets.ru, spotme.ru). A number of companies are trying to use microblogs, their Twitter accounts are in Russian but still with some few followers. Time will see whether it follows the rest of the world.

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