Right now I'm really into "Why we post" MOOC at FutureLearn (based on the same research as the "How the world changed social media" book).
So I try and write detailed comments as I go through course material. Why don't I share them here? The question of social media in Russia is not so widely discussed abroad. I can add my 2 cents.
|VK.com, one of the main social networks in Russia|
Social media platforms
There are some local platforms that surely get more attention from non-English-speaking people than Facebook.
Facebook in Russia is a place for those who speak English or have friends/family abroad or work at the media/IT or live in the biggest cities.
There are two other huge social networks: VK.com and odnoklassniki.ru ("VK" meaning "connecting" and "odnoklassniki" meaning "classmates").
Instagram and Facebook are also widely used.
Whatsapp and Viber are common ways to call for free which means a lot of people use them. Twitter is shrinking, Telegram is growing (it has an amazing broadcasting feature!).
Honestly I could connect with the same person in many ways online. Oftentimes I get a message via one network and answer via another. Thinking about messaging, I think in terms of people, not mediums or brands.
There are also many blogging websites that are also social media for me. Livejournal.com wasn't Russian originally but was bought several years ago and now is mainly occupied by Russian bloggers. There are also diary.ru, Tumblr and some more.
It's common when a person writes long posts at Livejournal website and shares the link to the new blog entry with friends via VK/facebook feed.
In Russia, people mainly try to show up online with the "prettiest" and the "most successful" things, looks and situations. I guess this happens because if you open up with vulnerability, there always are trolls that would have fun because of your situation. You cannot be safe in a public space sharing vulnerable issues so you rarely do.
The more likes you have, the more validated the thing you do becomes. A lot of posts happen because a person needs an outer validation (and I know it from my experience, too). You cannot just say "I'm lonely, please cheer me up". You'd rather post a smiling picture and collect likes for self-assurance (like Super Mario collects coins).
Sometimes when a person posts rarely, you understand there's some sadness and can ask in a direct message if everything is ok (but if you are not close, chances are you'd get "yes, thank you" answer).
If something really bad happens, people post it "under the lock" (within the few selected friends, not really public).