When you think of social media as global networks, would you believe every network is accessible in all countries? Would you believe that all countries use the same social networks?
When I first came to Prague I thought that Czechs would use the same social media networks that I use in the United States. I thought that Facebook would be just as popular as Twitter and Pinterest. After observing Czechs in every day life I found that my hypotheses were wrong. I began to notice that most teen Czechs were most active on Facebook. I would see them wearing shirts showing the Facebook logo, the thumbs-up “like” image, and even notice them using Facebook while they were on the metro. I did not notice many other social medias that were popular. I thought that they may be using a network that I didn’t recognize. But I was overall surprised that I didn’t see much use of Twitter or Pinterest.
I took it upon myself to do a little more research about this topic. What I found explained my observations. “Social media usage in the Czech Republic has been on an upward trend over the last few years” (Social Media guide for Czech Republic). As I observed, the most popular social media network in the Czech Republic is Facebook. “In late 2012, Facebook users make up of 37.30% of the country’s population and 56.96% in relation to total number of Internet users. The largest age group of the users is currently 25 to 34 year olds” (Social Media guide for Czech Republic). Not only is Facebook trending upward in the Czech Republic, but in other Eastern European countries it has gained even more popularity. “Facebook is the most visited website in Romania and Bulgaria, the second most visited in the Slovak Republic, Hungary and Poland, and the third most visited site in the Czech Republic” (Eastern European Social Media).
I also found that “Twitter is not yet popular in the Czech Republic, but the overall usage seems to be trending upwards and may soon gain popularity” (Social Media guide for Czech Republic). It is not just the Czech Republic, I found that twitter is not hugely popular in any Eastern European countries. I found similar results about Pinterest. It was interesting to see that Pinterest wasn’t even available in the Czech Republic until December 2013. Pinterest hopes to gain popularity in the Czech Republic, but as of now it is too new and too young in this country.
One explanation I have for why some social networks are not popular may be due to the popularity of local networks. I thought there were networks that I wasn’t able to recognize and after researching I was correct. “There are many popular local social media networks in the Czech Republic, the largest of which is called ‘Seznam’. It started as a search engine, today Seznam now offers everything from a business directory service to a dating site to chat room and e-commerce” (Social Media guide for Czech Republic).
I think that it is very interesting and gives Czechs a sense of national pride by using their local networks. I believe that these will remain popular for a few more years, but soon the Western social media networks will gain popularity just as they have in America. I think it is inevitable because of the fast pace of globalization. Soon enough Twitter and Pinterest will gain popularity just as McDonalds and Burger King did.
Featured image courtesy of Flickr user Nicolas Raymond