2010 highlighted several important trends of Russian Internet. Online audience grows very fast with people getting more news online and actively using social networks. In a lot of ways, 2010 brought a recognition of the power of the Internet into Russian society.
According to RuMetrica [RUS], RuNet daily audience was 38 million in November 2010. It is a 40 percent increase from only a year ago. A round table “RuNet 2010″ held in Duma (Russian parliament) in December this year also highlighted the fact that there are 46.5 million online users in the country. It is the highest number of Internet users in Europe. However, Russia still lags behind in terms of Internet penetration.
Russians are actively consuming online news and slowly shunning traditional media. Online news sector currently has 19.6 percent of RuNet audience. Other popular fields on the Internet are business, computers and movies with 15.9, 12 and 9.8 percent of online audience respectively.
It also seems that Russians became more interested in virtual tours of national museums and art galleries while reducing their appetite for online music. RuMetrica explains this by overwhelming availability of music on social networks (the most popular of them, Vkontakte.ru, is notorious for hosting an enormous amount of copyrighted content easily available to any of its users). At the same time, RuMetrica says, virtual tours of national museums became available only recently and many people from far regions of the country received an opportunity to visit top art galleries online.
Russian blogosphere rapidly grew in size – there are 30 million blogs – and popularity in 2010. According to media monitoring service Public.ru [RUS], traditional media cited information from the blogosphere 6,000 times in 2010. It is 30 times more than five years ago.
Public.ru also noted that independent bloggers actively participated in forming public opinion in 2010. “Politicians, government officials, society and traditional media started noticing the information on Livejournal.com [the most popular blogging platform in the country – GV],” Public.ru writes. “It created a new information vertical: society-bloggers-media-authorities.”
The top five topics on Russian blogosphere in 2010 that were widely covered by mainstream media are:
- The battle to preserve the Khimki Forest (see GVO article here).
- Car crash involving the vice president of Lukoil (see GVO article here).
- “Blue buckets” protests (see GVO roundups here and here)
- The case of “Perl Lieutenant” (a video of Russian lieutenant beating up protesters in Moscow).
- “Rynda” and Russian wildfires (see GVO article here and here).
Among the top Russian bloggers are navalny (see a GVO interview with him here), tema (designer who likes to swear A LOT), drugoi (Russian photographer), top-lap (his blog is suspended, GVO reported on this earlier) and doktor-Liza (background info is here).
It is safe to assume that the online trends highlighted in 2010 will continue to develop in years to come. The Russian blogosphere will continue to grow replacing traditional media in the amount of users and influence. As more and more Russians go online, various social platforms will link and unite more people. This will lead to even faster spread of information. Russian presidential election 2012 will certainly heat different political aspects of RuNet. Regarded by most Russians as untrustworthy and corrupt, traditional forms of media will be a drastic contrast to online world with blossoming political debates.
We will also see many success stories of citizen reporting and online activism in 2011. Several of those stories (and bloggers) will be nothing more than just pawns in clever political battles among different groups in power. Yes, Russian authorities will make several attempts to control the information online. Those attempts, for the most part, will be subtle and not very effective.
All in all, 2011 will be very dynamic year for RuNet. It will also be an amazing year for us, people working at RuNet Echo. People who are fascinated and captivated by everything that is happening in Russian online world. We are proudly looking forward to sharing the stories with global communities and bringing RuNet closer to the rest of the world.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!