Messenger turn: a Sakhalin oblast case study




mobile internet, messengers, messenger turn, digital divide, Internet in Russian regions


The article describes social practices and behavior of WhatsApp messenger users living in the Sakhalin region. The author assumes that this case study should be referred to it as a «messenger turn», a new phenomenon for the Russian Far East. The rise of messengers helped to overcome a ‘digital divide’, and communication via messengers has become an integral part of media consumption and local interactions that resulted in region-specific user practices.The work on the Iturup island in ‘Goryachie Klyuchi’ and ‘Gornoe’ garrison towns shows that messengers plays an important role replacing certain activities for people living in isolation with deficit in goods. The author also assumes that communicating via messengers is even more important for garrison town inhabitants as they lack public spaces. This pattern of messenger use is due to technical features of the messenger clients and communication conditions in the region.The topic is not sufficiently studied in the scientific literature but certain articles and other open sources give reason to believe that these messenger- related patterns can be typical of other regions of Siberia and Far East with similar communication infrastructure such as Yakutiya and Kamchatka.