The structure, taxonomy, function, and significance of social networks on the Russian Internet: that is the topic of the issue 2 of Digital Icons: Studies in Russian, Eurasian and Central European New MediaDigital Icons, previously The Russian Cyberspace Journal, recently changed its name to reflect a widened geographic scope and an increasingly complex media orientation.
Digital Icons it is, then. Titled “From Comrades to Classmates: Social Networks on the Russian Internet,” issue 2 was launched this week and is fully accessible online. A tip of the veil: the contributors consider the role of social media in contemporary Russia, with a special eye for the paradoxical stereotypes of Russian society — as collectivistic on the one hand, and amorphous and apathetic on the other. They determine, too, the role of social networks in maintaining Russia’s regional integrity by binding together the widely dispersed Russian-speaking diaspora. They do so in statistically (Alexanyan) and psychoanalytically (Mikheeva) oriented analyses of the Russian blogosphere, in articles on political and ethnographic identity-building on RuNet (MacLeodSuleymanovaKatsbert), on online Russian libraries (Mjor), and in explorations of the specifities of Russian as opposed to global social networks (Golynko-Volfson).
Together with three reviews of recent RuNet-related publications, the articles make for a lavish discussion of Russian social media. Enjoy.