A parallel universe (fiction), or an alternative reality - a reality that somehow exists at the same time as ours, but independently of it. This autonomous entity can have different sizes, ranging from a small geographical area to an entire universe. In a parallel world, things have their own course of happening, which to a certain extent might be different from our world, or might even completely differ. [source - Wikipedia.org]
This concept made up in the early twenty-first century with time has changed its meaning and has now been brought to life. The virtual world is identical to the real world concerning the particularities of human relationships, and close to it regarding the number of inhabitants; it exists independently of the real world and only sometimes it reflects the real events, at the wish of the users (as in: "Alex is now in relationship with Ana" ... "Alex is now listed as single "). But not in all cases. The most common people in real life, in the parallel reality take the opportunity of becoming someone else, almost like supermen. The number of friends they have online is very high, while the person himself, perhaps rarely leaves the house, and probably even less goes out to meet with friends. Nowadays the user = the real person, types faster and better than he talks, and his smile more often looks like this - :-).
To find out which social networks are popular in our society, Magenta Consulting has included in its quarterly study Magenta National Screening questions about the popularity of "odnoklassniki" and facebook.
Odnoklassniki, after the age of 60
First of all, it is worth to note that all in all, internet users make up for 45,5% of those aged over 14 years. Our Soviet history primarily explains the fact that Russian language is understood almost by everyone, which leads to the fact that television, newspapers and magazines in Russian are in great demand. The same explanation can be used to explain the popularity of "odnoklassniki". Interestingly, 84% of those who use the internet, have a profile on this network. Another particularity of this social network is that one can find our mothers and fathers, uncles and aunts (age in this case, has little value). It also might happen that parents ask their children to teach them how to turn on the computer and use the Internet just so that they can regularly check new messages and look at new pictures of their friends. Of course, amongst teenagers and young adults, the proportion of those who use this social network is much greater (93%*) than amongst older people, but at the same time, the share of 42% among those older than 65, is simply amazing! Ever since the beginning, the name of the network was purely symbolic - its users don't necessarily have their classmates as friends, furthermore, they have included relatives, casual acquaintances, colleagues, children from the building block, and many more. However, the idea was a terrific success. Combining all the Russian speakers, "odnoklassniki" allowed people to find their old friends and acquaintances who had gone in search of a better life abroad in the early nineties (representing the online version of the program "Wait for me"). It's amusing that the share of female "inhabitants" in this network is still a little bit higher than the share of male (87% versus 81%).
Figure 1: Notoriety of social networks, N=1336, %
The book of faces, and destinies
On second place, with a share of 41% is the network Facebook - despite the fact that it is possible to use the site in Russian and Romanian, yet amongst its members there is a great number of those who know Romanian. The popularity of this network has augmented along with increased traveling abroad, in particular to the West. Making new friends, getting to know more English-speaking people and wishing to maintain these relationships, they have created Facebook profiles. Once again it's surprising the fact that women's interest in the network is higher than the interest of young people and men - 42% compared to 39%. Additionally, it is noteworthy that the segment of "odnoklassniki" users is much wider, with the main group situated between the ages of 14-44 years, but in the case of Facebook users, this segment is mostly represented by young people 14-34 years (56.5% amongst teenagers and 40.6% amongst young people of age 25-34 years old). As we move up the age scale, among those older than 35, the share of "facebookers" is drastically reduced to 20%.
Always connected or In Contact (V Kontakte)
With a share of 17%, the social network V Kontakte is ranked on third place. As expected, this social network is mostly popular among young Russian-speaking persons (29% versus 12% of those who speak Romanian). Interestingly, among the local users "odnoklassniki" is even more popular among the Romanian-speaking Internet users - 83% compared with 75%, which can partly be explained by the popularity of V Kontakte in the case of Russian speakers. Interesting to note is also the fact that the percentage of Russian-speaking Internet users who are not registered in any social network is 20%, which represents 8 percentage points more compared to the Romanian-speaking Internet users, which can also use other local social networks - colegi.md, faces.md.
The online chatting
Transparency has already become part of our lives. Nowadays we do not worry too much whether our statements and thoughts are politically correct. In theory this is the case, but do we actually tend to speak out loud our every move and thought? Ironically, it happens very often that in a post-Soviet country when one meets on the street an American, he can spot him from far away, by the loud voices and laughter. They are always "many". By nature they are more open and friendly. This partly explains the success of twitter abroad. The word twitter means "chirps from birds", which also explains the use of the blue bird as the symbol of the network. The very essence of this network is to ensure that every thought, desire and intention of the user of the network, is be made public at their choice. ("I'm going to dinner ... Who's coming?", "Today, our concert at the same location as last time!", "I said YES!", "It's raining ... Why?")
The benefits and dangers of online communication
We can long argue about the benefits and dangers of social networking. They certainly create all the circumstances in order to facilitate communication between people. One does not necessarily have to go out, pay for international calls, send letters by post or heavy parcels with photos - all he/she needs to do is register on a social network and put those same pictures on his/her profile. Consequently, all the friends in the same network can instantly see how cool the newdress looks, or the new shirt, how Peter at the event held Maria's hand and most importantly, what opinion does someone have on a specific topic. The downside of online communication consists in the simplicity of language and the fact that the strength and power expressed by a person's eyes with just one look, will not be seen by the "friend" who sits on the other side of the monitor, miles away. Fortunately, this parallel-virtual world has not yet replaced reality. And we certainly hope that it will not happen so in the near future either.
Methodological note. The data was obtained during the study Magenta National Screening. It is conducted quarterly using the omnibus methodology, on a sample of 3,000 people in villages and towns of Moldova, with the margin of error of ± 1.7% and 95% confidence level.