How do you create a social networking platform that would be popular in society dominated by Facebook and Odnoklassniki? In Kazakhstan, the answer is tribe. Rulas [Kazakh for “tribemate”], a new social network that has already attracted several thousand members, groups users according to their clans and tribes.
Although tribal identities still matter a lot in the oil-rich nation, the new website is raising some eyebrows there. Under a Russian-language report [ru] about Rulas, one user argues that the website splits the society, reinforcing inequality and discrimination. Other users, however, maintain that the awareness of one's tribal background has always been central to Kazakh identity and that the website does not really change anything.