Facebook is certainly a force of globalization. All across the world, this website is used by different users of different cultures for different means. Ever since I was in high school, Facebook invites would pop up on my screen, inviting me to join or ‘like’ their specific page. Today, my mom even has her own page, specifically meant to market her real estate business. In the Czech Republic, Facebook pages invite users to rally around a public figure or company in order to show their support. According to the website, socialbakers.com, the Facebook pages with the largest total fans include the condom company Durex, athlete Petr Cech, and technology corporation HP. Other popular pages include several Czech models including Claire Muzik, Veronica LaVery, Alena Seredova, and Karolina Kurkova. Some of the fastest growing pages inlcude Nivea, a Home/Garden website, and a community page about Liberland.
This website was particularly interesting to me because it also allowed me the option to see the same statistics for the United States. In the US, the pages with the most fans included the one for Eminem, Vin Diesel, and Michael Jackson. The majority in the top 20 included celebrities, with the exception of MTV and the Fast & Furious. Company pages were featured in the fastest growing sites including Pizza Hut, Mentos, and Frontera Concha y Toro.
While the Czech pages seemed to center around models, the American one focused on A-list celebrities, rappers, and athletes. It was interesting to note this, as each country seemed to favor personalities that were local to their own culture.
While this website may track the top trends in the Czech Republic in general, another article written for the Expats discusses “25 Facebook Pages We Love.” Eva Samsukova, the author, lists several different pages under the different categories of Practical, Events, Food and Drink, Fashion/Design, Just for Fun, and Community. What I found interesting about this article was the fact that it covered so many different topics…everything from, “Prsi v Praze?” (Is it raining in Prague?) to a service allowing for cheap travel.
Because this article was written for Expats, I question the idea that the claims also hold true for “all-Czech” citizens. Rather than pointers on how to cook traditional Czech food, there are also pages that blatantly make fun of Czech culture. This may be a part of the traditional Czech dry sense of humor apparent in advertising. For example, one of the recommended pages is called “Modni Peklo” (Fashion Hell). The description reads, “Czechs are very famous for wearing socks and sandals. That’s not our only vice! Módní Peklo regularly reports on hundreds of others and their feed is famed for its daily photos of fashion blunders” (2014). Another page, called “Divnolidi v MHD” tracks the ‘freaks on public transport’.
Besides the humor, Samsukova also discusses more serious pages. These include food/drink recommendations and even a page dedicated to exposing the absurdity of Czech advertising. Last, yet another important page to discuss, Samsukova writes about the “Humans of Prague” page, HONY’s central European twin. The fact that this page even exists shows that western influence is very strong. Tomas Princ, the author, took it upon himself to map the streets of Prague just like Brandon Stanton had done in New York.
Overall, I think that the Czech use of Facebook pages is quite similar to American use. In both countries, users follow famous athletes, celebrities, and models (more-so in the CZ). Facebookers on both ends follow interesting, entertaining, and informative pages. However, the differences were also clear, as seen with more support for companies in the Czech top ten. What I am left wondering is; Which pages have the most eclectic group of followers? Is there a page that both Czechs and Americans frequently visit?
Featured Image taken as a screengrab from the website ExPats.cz