Oleg Nagornyy - Articles by Yuri Rykov

Digital Inequality in Russia through the Use of a Social Network Site: A Cross-Regional Comparison

An important role of digital inequality for hindering the development of civil society is being increasingly acknowledged. Simultaneously, differences in availability and the practices of use of social network sites (SNS) may be considered as major manifestations of such digital divide. While SNS are in principle highly convenient spaces for public discussion, lack of access or domination by socially insignificant small talk may indicate underdevelopment of the public sphere. At the same time, agenda differences between regions may signal about local problems. In this study we seek to find out whether regional digital divide exists in such a large country as Russia. We start from a theory of uneven modernization of Russia and use the data from its most popular SNSVK.com” as a proxy for measuring digital inequality. By analyzing user activity data from a sample of 77,000 users and texts from a carefully selected subsample of 36,000 users we conclude that regional level explains an extremely small share of variance in the overall variation of behavioral user data. A notable exception is attention to the topics of Islam and Ukraine. However, our data reveal that historically geographical penetration of “VK.com” proceeded from the regions considered the most modernized to those considered the most traditional. This finding supports the theory of uneven modernization, but it also shows that digital inequality is subject to change with time.


Область интернет-исследований в социальных науках

Internet Studies is an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary field of fundamental and applied research that integrate different research disciplines with a common object, that is the Internet. This review article gives a definition and a brief description of the structure of Internet Studies as part of the social sciences and introduces research agenda of this field, including most cutting edge research issues. The agenda of Internet Studies related to classical sociological issues are analyzed in more detail: inequality, online communities and social capital as well as topics related to the study of transformations in different spheres of society - politics, public health and medicine, education. Two main theoretical approaches are briefly described, within which the influence of the Internet on society is interpreted: the network society theory and critical theory of the Internet and society. We conclude that the present directions of Internet research have many intersections with each other, and the perspective of a more complete study of the mechanisms, that mediate social changes related to the Internet and connect online and offline sociality into a single space, opens at these intersections.


Semantic and Geospatial Mapping of Instagram Images in Saint-Petersburg

The availability of large urban social media data creates new opportunities for studying cities. In our paper we propose a new direction for this research: a joint analysis of geolocations of shared images and their content as determined by computer vision. To test our ideas, we use a dataset of 47,410 Instagram images shared in the city of St.Petersburg over one year. We show how a combination of semantic clustering, image recognition and geospatial analysis can detect important patterns related to both how people use a city and how they represent in social media.