How do you know?

Let me guess: you are reading this text from your smartphone display. Now everybody reads from smartphones. Thanks to Steve Jobs, the time the residents of industrially developed countries spend online has doubled over the recent years — from 2.5 to 5 hours per day. In the earlier times, people travelling by Metro, sitting in a café or standing in line would read newspapers or just idle the time away, and now they watch videos on YouTube from their phones.
 © Mari Helin Let me assume something else: you have not hit the website directly — a friend of yours has sent you a link by the Messenger or you have come across it in a social network and reacted to the headline. Unless for professional purposes, there are from five to seven websites in our bookmarks, and we look through them every day. What we see extra, comes from somewhere else. Those who make money in the Internet spend much time trying to find out where exactly. We live in a world which is oversaturated with information: it is not so difficult to create good content: it is difficult to spread it out to large audiences.

have succeeded in spreading information — I mean social networks. They more often only carry on what information agencies or news websites have already published, or what Yury Dud’ has posted in YouTube. Yet, according to Globalwebindex, internet users spend one-third of their time in social networks. Since 2017, a strong trend has been observed: to refuse from personal computers and laptops in favor of smartphones as ‘social devices’. Indeed, you will not open your laptop to check your Facebook page when travelling by bus.
 © Rohan So, you can write brilliant analytical articles, record excellent podcasts, draw hilarious memes and publish astonishing news — unless you place all this into social networks and adapt it to a format that looks good on the 5” screen, your work is very likely to remain unnoticed and underestimated. It will simply not get into the feed of those who may be potentially interested in this content.


One should also understand that inside Facebook, VKontakte, Twitter and other social networks there is competition for the users’ attention. Not only what you will say but also how you will say it is important. For example, the Lentach (‘Feeder’) group has nearly 2 million subscribers in VKontakte, as they grasped the internet trend and began to accompany news with funny memes. In VKontakte, where the core users are aged from 18 to 34, it is important ‘to be cool’. Many theme groups have copied such an approach and gained the audience. At the same time, in Facebook, which is a home for “oldsters’ from 25 to 44, other approaches are needed: to be simply funny ha-ha is not so effective there.
 © Mari Helin Generally speaking, in VKontakte, they subscribe to groups, while in Facebook — to persons. Many famous people write in Zuckerberg’s network. They do not have to be mega-popular, like Ivan Urgant: it is enough to be recognized at the level of the country, region, city or town. These people earn a certain reputation, and their opinions become ponderous. This is also a modern trend: to choose not just sources of information but those people you trust there. It is always easier to believe a concrete person than to believe a company, news channel or agency. So, as I ask the question “What do you read?", I often hear not “Moscow Echo” but Yulia Latynina, not but Alexander Baunov. I watch not reviews in KinoPoisk (‘Movie Search’) or on YouTube, but exactly BadComedian… News, opinions, and videos have become personified. Not only what is said but also who says it is important. Not only a picture is important but also who posted it.

In fact, there is nothing surprising in it. When asked from where people get the news, they usually answer: from friends and family. Columnists, bloggers, and picturers, whose work we follow and who have earned our trust, seem to get access to our inner circle exactly this way. Messengers are becoming more and more popular as news boosters. Correspondence, which has left texting for social networks, which is now migrating from social networks to WhatsApp, Viber and Telegram, group chats of friends, co-workers, and hobby sharing communities, seems to be an activity in which any information will be perceived with special sentiments. Telegram-channels of well-known people create the same effect of correspondence. A text from Vasily Utkin, the most popular comment-maker on football, about the world championship, comes to your smartphone from your friend, and that is really touching.

Besides, now the messenger users (practically 80% of the smartphone owners) are getting accustomed to the developing chatbots. Perhaps, if the mankind likes it, chatbots will filter information flows for the concrete user. In principle, this is convenient, although not quite customary yet.


Praising the internet, I should note: television is still an important force, despite the internet-breakthrough of the recent years. It is important everywhere. Speaking about Belarus, TV is still an important source of information, though its significance is slowly going down, while that of the internet is rising, just as in the whole world. Yet, the survey conducted by the Belarusian analytical workshop of Andrey Vardomatsky for 2017 “From where do you receive information?” speak for themselves. Here are four most important sources of information the people named:
 © Rohan 71.3% — the Belarusian state television;
62.1% — from friends and family;
43.8% — the Russian state television;
42.4% — social networks and blogs.

Social networks and blogs occupy only the fourth position. Different specialized and news websites are ranked even lower, and their proportions are less. I must mention that in Belarus, forums are of special importance (in the English-speaking internet, they evolved into image boards, like in 4chan, while in Eastern Europe, such services never became really popular. People feel that forums are not the press and television which may deceive them. They are not social networks which want to sell as much advertising as possible to them. People just like them write in the forums, only they have more experience in the discussed issue than them. This is why they rely on the forum opinions and judgements. Forums have actually become extinct in the whole world, but Belarusians are in no hurry to part with them. Yet, some day, they will — when messengers become so convenient for use that it will be impossible to live without them. Just like the Chinese WeChat.

Artem Fando

Editor of the sport website, author of the journal "Bolschoj", interested in sports, traveling and technologies.





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