Social media and networks in Lithuania

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Pranešk apie klaidą

Facebook screenAccording to a TNS survey made in 2010, only 13% of all social network Lithuanian users used them for business or work (something that could be attributed to professionals and specialists).

Facebook is by far the most popular social network in Lithuania. According to SocialBakers.com, the “blue F” is garnering a bit more than 1 091 000 users, which makes up for about 31% of the whole population. The biggest age groups are 18-24 and 25-34 and female users are just a little more dominant than males (by 5%).

The main uses are communication with friends (possibly real, not just strangers), sharing YouTube videos, photos and pictures (the quality and the point of sharing can be questionable quite often, but hey, we’re free to do what we want on the web). There’s quite a lot of space for consumerism and brands too – women love checking out clothing, holiday offers and restaurants (just like in real life, eh?). Men? They’re more reserved in this context.

There’s not much corporate about Facebook usage here – even though quite a few people tend to fill out their current job positions and most of these subjects openly share their employer’s company name, but it usually links to a blank and empty page (the mind drifts toward an old western flick, with the dust bunny rolling in the background). “Facelessness” on Facebook. Sad.

Since people love to share visual information and give more attention to it than plain text, photographers (pro’s and amateurs too) really enjoy the attention on Facebook.

But there are politics involved. Questionable competencies issues aside, their presence is more and more visible here. As are various political party pages – most of the time they share their propaganda/news/opinions, especially when it’s election time. So this type of professionals (as much as we love to hate them, they’re still professionals) is quite prevalent.

Google+. This one is quite blooming nowadays in our country. Mostly used by people as an alternative to Facebook, it attracts a more mature audience (that is apparently more tolerant towards others, as some have noticed). One of it’s obvious strengths is integration. If you’re using any of Google’s services (any apps) there’s minimal amount of hassle to get started socializing.

Current Lithuanian users? It’s really dominated by bloggers, politicians, journalists, entrepreneurs, PR people and IT enthusiasts. It’s a blend a bit older Facebook users, Twitter users with a little LinkedIn toppings. Also, the circles are really helpful – it’s easy to build up lists of people who can share their industry expertise.

Twitter? Most of Lithuanian web users are only heard of it as having nice birdie logo. It’s quite hard to discern whether Lithuanian Twitter users are as passive as other people who take the reader side and grab the tiny bits of information (chewed up in smaller portions than a mobile SMS, even) spread around by the ones they follow. Tweeting is mostly being done by younger people who could be described as students, bloggers, journalists, freelancers, IT enthusiasts, various artists.

LinkedIn – the social network dressed in a suit that just spells “corporate”. This is the de facto network connecting professionals from various industries. Regarding Lithuania, it’s easy to spot that LinkedIn is mostly enjoyed by HR or other specialists from the higher tiers of company hierarchy. Currently, the most thriving industries/sectors in Lithuanian segment of LinkedIn are related to… well, internet, actually. Web advertising, design, marketing agencies, small IT e-shops with strong CEOs (can be broadly defined as ecommerce), you name it.

You can bet that here you’ll meet some pros who’ll gladly explain you things like SEO, ROI and whatnot. Most of them ooze great knowledge – how else would get your niche to acknowledge you, respect you and maybe, just maybe, buy your services or hire you (headhunting is not that prevalent hear – the western flick, remember?).

What’s also interesting about the Lithuanian LinkedIn demographics is that most of the action happens there because of the capital residents. It’s as if there’s no brands or business going on in other regions and smaller cities.

The others in a nutshell

Pinterest – the realm of females. Not much Lithuanian action going on here, sadly. And there’s a lot of potential here for jewellery, clothing brands or crafts professionals. Of course, maybe it would be easier if some ripoffs wouldn’t exist?

Reddit – remember the intro with forum praising? Well, this one really reminds me of a forum. But I can’t see a significant amount of Lithuanian users there. Or any for that matter. The format could be great and the topical variety could be a great place for pros to hang out and share their wisdom. It’s like a socialnetwork-forum thing.

Tumblr – it’s an easy way to blog about. Too bad it’s mostly used by teens and college students. And only few Lithuanians see or actually know this thing exists. Probably because there’s a local version that’s been around for quite some time?

One.lt – believe me, there’s nothing professional or specialist about this home-brew emoticon overfilled social network accident oriented towards minors and like-minded. Sorry, that’s the gentlest way I can describe. The same could be told about klasė.lt and draugas.lt, but I’ve been told that users are a little more mature and use less emoticons. Still, nothing professional about that.

Forums and social networks

In these days we might think about forums as being something really dated (my old days a decade back remind me of the phpBB and Invision Power Board miracles). Since their inception they haven’t really emerged into… something else and bigger.

But maybe they don’t need to be any bigger than that? Isn’t it all about the information?

Here’s a quick and simple example – in Google’s Lithuanian search I’ve entered “sap specialistai” (SAP specialists) and what do we have in the first page? A link to a topic. In a forum. And no social networks in sight. Forums might be an old “mode” of communication, but it still works very well. Regarding specialized discourses and topics, it’s noticeable that most social networks (Facebook in particular) serve more as extensions to forums and isn’t very popular. Those who choose to use it, gather (or could gather) wider web presence and exposure, but the main party’s at the front door.

Written by Mindaugas Radavicius for Joberate

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