According to the Public Opinion Foundation, the active daily audience of Runet – the Russian-language internet – increased from 13% to 43% between 2008 and 2013. This is an important reason behind researchers' growing interest in exploring Russian internet users' strategies in online communication, notes Maria Pilgun, professor in the HSE's Department of Integrated Communications, in her report 'Key Communication Strategies in the Russian Network Environment.’
In her study, data from a survey of 500 respondents were analyzed using Brand Analytics, a social media content monitoring tool that allows for real-time analysis.
Pilgun's study identified five basic strategies used by web-savvy Russians for online communication.
Strategy 1: Information and Analysis
This strategy is employed by advanced users who want to choose from the entire range of available options and who are comfortable with sophisticated solutions (e.g., interface customization, media services, list serves, event calendars, and dynamic menus) and exploring new features. They use their technological confidence to process and share large amounts of information in real time; they create social media events, comment on and rate publications, send private messages and write on forums, post on other users' walls, send greetings on important dates, and tag friends in videos and photos. Those who have adopted this strategy use blogs and social media successfully in their professional and social lives, as well as for business, creative expression, personal connections (making new contacts and maintaining existing ones), and for foreign language practice.
Strategy 2: Communication and Hedonism
This strategy is preferred by people who use the web primarily for social communication; technology for them is a tool to maintain their multiple social connections and their status as party goers and socialites.
Strategy 3: Presentation
This strategy allows a person to create an online image that may differ considerably from the person’s communicative behaviour in real life.
Strategy 4: Simulation
Simulation is a strategy used by different types of people for a wide variety of communicative tasks, from obtaining immediate feedback to seeking emotional support. It is also occasionally used as a replacement or simulation for social life offline.
Strategy 5: Information Consumerism
The user passively consumes information and monitors events online.
Many Russian internet users prefer the first strategy, according to the study. "The most active part of Russian society perceives mastery of online communication as a key solution for better quality of life and goal achievement in a person’s professional, social, and personal life, as well as in civic activism," notes Pilgun.
She also believes that Russian mass media may benefit from knowing people's online strategies and using this knowledge to better target their content.