The article presents empirical data on Internet and social media use in a Russian regional and urban space. Ethnographic methods provide a picture of ordinary users and their online habits. Data was gathered “online” and using traditional participant observation of informants, constituting a “connective ethnography.” The empirical findings highlight a degree of “circumspection” by ordinary users in terms of the social networking potential of VKontakte, the main social networking site (SNS) popular in Russia. The SNS use is characterized by limited acknowledgement of social others in contrast to extended communication typical of Facebook. In addition, the article discusses at length the problems with scholarship that seeks to highlight the civic potential of new media in less democratic societies, such as Russia. The complexity of imputing civic or politicized use of the SNS is highlighted by informants’ observed use.
|Number of pages||19|
|Journal||Region: Regional Studies of Russia, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia|
|Publication status||Published - 2013|