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After traveling around Europe for the past 3 months and studying in Prague for a good amount of time, I fine myself getting more and more interested in how social media differs in usage throughout the world. I find there are recognizable differences between the United States and Prague, but that is explainable and expected due to the ocean and many many miles of separation along with very different cultures. I have been searching and searching for an article that could break down Central Europe and its social media use differences. I finally found it: ” Online Lead Generation in Central Europe“. The article talks about the internet, social media, top search terms, and smartphones in various countries throughout Central Europe.

Screen shot from the article

Screen shot from the article

Interestingly, the Czech Republic has the highest Facebook CPC (cost per click) but no where near the most users. It is strange since according to the article, one of the top search terms in the Czech Republic is “Facebook” . It is probably this fact that makes the click more costly because it provides a valuably advertising niche.

Leichenstein has the highest GDP by a long shot and also has more registered companies than people in the country. Clearly money is no problem for the people of Liechtenstein and they maintain an active Facebook population. Other popular social media sites like Twitter, Youtube, and LinkedIn are barely, if at all used in the small country. These social media sites are probably not very popular because business and the economy are doing perfectly fine without advertisements on social media or self promotion. Without the use of social media sites in the United States economy, it would make it very hard for businesses to be successful in many cases.

Screen shot from article

Screen shot from the article

Poland is apparently leading the Smartphone trend in central Europe. In my opinion this explains why the daily visits to social media sites are far higher in Poland than any other central European country represented in the tables. Smartphones make it significantly easier to maintain a social media presence daily. It practically becomes a requirement to check facebook and twitter 7 times a day with smartphone technology.

I was surprised to see that no where in the article is Instagram referenced. Although it is a fairly new form of social media, its popularity spread like wild fire in the United States among adolescents and businesses. Maybe it is because the smartphone trend is still growing in Central Europe and social media popularity for that matter. But Instagram is not just a phenomenan in the United States. If you go to the featured photos page on any given day, there is usually one out of the 12 pictures that is not in english and many of the photos are clearly from various countries around the world. We will see in time if Central Europe catches onto the Insta band wagon.

And speaking of Instagram….

The other day the unthinkable happened. My Instagram account was deactivated. And it was not I who deactivated it, it was Instagram. Why you might ask? They claimed “Your account has been disabled due to terms of service violations: http://instagram.com/legal/terms/ “. Naturally I went to the site to see how I possibly could have violated such terms. It was not helpful and totally overwhelming to go through their basic terms and general conditions and rights and everything else written there. I concluded that they can deactivate your account without permission if you violate their terms (posting offensive/risque photos or using other people’s photos). I am still befuddled as there is no “term of service” that I could have possibly violated. I am not one for steeling other’s work and I certainly do not post nude Instagram pictures, I would say I can be lumped into the same category as the average college student user. I eventually got over my annoyance with Instagram and gave up after sending them an email which was not graced with a response. I no longer have an instagram account and I can tell you that I do not wish to partake in that social media community anymore. The thought of remaking and trying to replicate my account and starting from scratch is so unattractive that I am totally uninterested in Instagram anymore. I have to say, it is somewhat nice to have one less thing to check on my phone, one less social media site to keep me tethered to technology, and one less way for people to keep tabs on me.

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2 thoughts on “Central Europe and the Internet

  1. The article and the data it reports on is very interesting, especially when it deals with popular search terms. According to the article, the top search terms in the Czech Republic are “facebook” and “seznam”. While “facebook” is a familiar term in the United States, we are not so familiar with “seznam”. The articles states that it refers to a Czech search engine that receives seven million visitors a day from the Czech Republic. Deciding to explore seznam a little more, I ventured on the site and searched for some terms. The majority of the searches yielded results only in Czech, even when searching with some english terms. This begs the question whether having a specific search engine server can yield more specific results to a population in a certain region/with a specific group of people. 

For example, bing is a search engine that includes information from your Facebook account when enabled. What if search engines became so specialized that we wouldn’t need to attach our social networking sites? The engine we would use would reflect our interests, our peers’ interests, and a scope of results we would initially want. There could be a search engine that when we type in “best coffee shop”, the search engine would know we mean the best from New York City or our small little hometown. 



    However, in a article by SearchEngineLand, the web measurement service Toplist reported that Google surpassed seznam.cz as the most frequented search engine in the Czech Republic. What does this mean about the Czech Republic and its internet usage? Can we say that it is becoming more ‘modern’ by choosing to use Google? According to commercial web traffic data collector Alexa, there are still several countries that do not use Google as the number one search engine: China, South Korea, Russia, Taiwan, Japan, and North Korea (as reported in Woolor.com article). 


    In my opinion, I feel that Google is a reliable and effective search engine tool. Yet I am very much open to new inventions and possibilities of search-engine/SNS combos. Bing has tried to incorporate this, and according to Bing’s Corporate Vice President’s blog post, they began this new SNS incorporation last June, and now with their latest update, they are “expanding beyond “Likes,” photos and profile information to include status updates, shared links and comments – all in an effort to help you get more done”. They claim that there will be five times more Facebook content available in bing searches when Facebook access is enabled. To me, this seems like the perfect combination of SNS-related input and outside information. The big question: why hasn’t it surpassed Google?!

    Sources:

    McGee, Matt. “Google Now #1 Search Engine In Czech Republic; 5 Countries To Go For Global Domination”. Search Engine Land, http://searchengineland.com/google-nunber-one-czech-republic-5-countries-left-61174

    “Countries where Google is not #1 search engine”. Woolor.com, http://www.woolor.com/thetechbook/countries-where-google-is-not-1-search-engine/

    Connell, Derrick. “Bing Social Updates Arrive Today: For Every Search, There is Someone Who Can Help”. Bing Blogs, http://www.bing.com/blogs/site_blogs/b/search/archive/2013/01/17/bing-social-updates-arrive-today-for-every-search-there-is-someone-who-can-help.aspx

  2. I am probably the least tech-savy person I know, except for my mom and grandmother. For some reason, I was pretty intrigued when I read these two posts about internet usage in Central Europe and particularly about search engines in the Czech Republic. After looking over the article “Online Lead Generation in Central Europe”, I wasn’t quite sure what to take away from it. Sure, the material is interesting, but the section that relates Liechtenstein’s economy with social media seems really far-fetched, especially because its population is comparable to New York University’s student body. There is some decent data in the article, but I don’t think that the statements made have very strong backbones to support them. However, the search engine topic was what actually caught my attention.

    Ever since I arrived in Prague, I’ve constantly been looking things up on Google, rather I’ve been “Googling” everything. I’ve asked my RA to recommend restaurants and show me directions to them, and every time he would pull-up mapy.cz, the GPS feature or the Google Map of Seznam. I was unaware of Seznam’s presence in the Czech Republic until someone brought up its high popularity during our Social Media class. Out of curiosity, I questioned a twenty-four-year-old Czech friend if it was true that Czechs use Seznam more than they use Google. He replied, “Ya, people use Seznam, but it’s for ancient times,” meaning that Seznam was outdated and that Google was indeed the way of the Jones’.
    Contrary to my friend’s snarky remark about the Czech-based search engine, I’ve found that many of the Czechs I know still have Seznam email addresses. I asked another friend, Miro, when he made the switch from Seznam to Google, and he said that he started using Google about eight years ago. Then I asked him why he didn’t have a gmail address, and he told me that he grudgingly made a gmail account for the purpose of cellphone applications. “I don’t like Google Mail, so I kept Seznam.” When I asked him why Seznam was better, he told me this: “I think Google Mail is better than Seznam, but it’s nostalgic to have Seznam, and it’s Czech.”
    Miro’s response brings me back to Tori’s questions about Google, modernization, and pluralism concerning search engines. Tori insinuates that adopting Google as the number one search engine makes a country more modern. I’m not one-hundred percent on-board with that statement, because a lot of the alternative sites such as Yandex, Yahoo, Bing are useful and pretty high-tech. Then again, I’m not a web- connoisseur. One thing that would classify a Google-using country as modern would be that Google is globalized freedom online. It’s information at one’s fingertips, a luxury that people can share together. Therefore countries like China and North Korea, where Google is banned, are antiquated, because they restrict freedom of speech, which I believe is essential to a modernized society. Now to Tori’s other question about why competing technologies like Bing haven’t surpassed Google; athough sites such as Yandex or Bing might be just as good as the world’s most-used navigational tool, it will undoubtedly take a long time before any user-group makes the transition from one site to the next. One example is Miro and his patriotic-rationale, while another reason is that people are just generally resistant to change. Either way, with or without Google, the internet users of the world will only continue to grow larger, and only time will tell the technological trends.

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