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Digital Research Essay
The list of the most demanded mass media nowadays includes the internet as one of the strongest competitors. This happened because the technologies have been gradually conquering the world during the last couple of decades. The popularity of various digital devices and the services they provide such as entertainment, marketing, and connection is growing incredibly fast. The development in the spheres of digital technologies exceeded that of any other sphere. Having penetrated every aspect of our everyday life the technologies provided us with comfort and opportunities.
Among all the benefits digital technologies and the internet carry social networks are the most popular. Some of them are huge international platforms and some are of local character. The people of majority of the world’s countries are connected to both local and global. This paper will discuss the internet and technologies in Romania, its social media use and online social trends. Even though Romania was one of the last European Union members to embrace social media, their growth in this country is extremely fast and their power allows Romanians address a variety of social issues.
Romania is a country in the Southeastern Europe. It is a member of the European Union and its capital city is called Bucharest. The population of Romania estimates 21.4 million people according to the data of 2011 (Romania country profile, 2012). The population of the country is rather dense and accounts for 89 people per square kilometer (Romania, Internet Usage Stats and Market Report, 2013). Romania has a coastline in the Black Sea and is visited by thousands for tourists every year due to its beautiful nature and mountain landscape. The country’s economy has been developing at a slower pace ever since Romania obtained its independence from the USSR in the beginning of the 1990s. During the world financial crisis of the 2008, the county’s economy has experienced a serious downfall which resulted in mass dissatisfaction of the population with its government of the time.
TV and Radio in Romania
Media market of Romania is rather active and generally is more dynamic that those of the neighboring countries of the Southeastern Europe (Bulgaria, Hungary, Moldova). Television is the medium of choice for the Romanian population. Some of the most popular privately owned outlets are Realitatea TV and Antena 1, while the largest state-owned broadcaster is TVR (Romania country profile, 2012). The key TV platforms in Romania are paid television (cable and satellite channels). As for the digital television, it is still in the process of developing and winning its viewers.
The number of radio stations in Romania is impressive – about a hundred of privately owned radios orientated at the audiences of various kinds. The radio platform owned by the state is called Radio Romania; in runs four different networks operating on national, regional, and local levels (Romania country profile, 2012).
Regardless of the rapid growth of the popularity of the internet in Romania, the demand on television is still higher. During the period between the 2012 and 2013, at least 40 national TV channels were launched in the paid TV sector, which is a good demonstration that investing in to this media is extremely profitable in Romania (TV and on-demand audiovisual services in Romania, 2013). Besides, when it comes to the advertising, in 2011, 64 % of the market share belonged to the television, while the internet got only 11 % (Initiative, 2012).
Internet Usage in Romania
When it comes to the use of the internet, Romania is getting more and more connected by the year. For example, in 2000 the popularity of the internet in Romania was not the strongest, approximately 800 thousand people (while the overall population of the country estimated over 21 million people) were regularly using the internet, this number accounts for only 3.6 % of the general number of citizens (Romania, Internet Usage Stats and Market Report, 2013). In 2004, the number of regular users of the internet grew drastically and started to estimate four million people (which means that over four years the popularity of the Internet became five times as strong as in 2000), who composed 18.7 % of the population (Romania, Internet Usage Stats and Market Report, 2013).
In 2012, 44 % (over 9.6 million people) of the overall population of Romania were connected to the internet on the regular basis (Romania, Internet Usage Stats and Market Report, 2013). When divided into several age groups, the population of Romania demonstrates the following statistics: in the age category of 16 to 24, 80 % of the population are regularly using the internet; among the 25 to 34 year-olds – 87 % access the internet on the regular basis, within the age group that includes 34 to 44 year-olds – 68 %; the lowest percentage (64 %) is registered among the Romanians of 45 to 54 years old; the statistics demonstrates growth for the older generation (55 and more) – 72 % of users (Daily internet usage rate in Romania in 2014, by age group, 2014). Yet, the internet is gradually winning popularity, as it managed to gain 3 % of market share, while print media and television lost points.
Social Media in Romania
As it was mentioned before, the Romanian markets are strongly influenced by the internet as this media has been gradually and rather rapidly winning the devoted audience within all of the age groups. Today, the internet in Romania is an influential media that provides a wide range of services and opportunities such as learning and education, entertainment, marketing, banking, communication, and advertising.
Among all the media currently used on the territory of Romania, social media is the only one with the growth tendency. The people of 18 to 34 years old are the most active internet users, 80 % of them access the social media every day (Daily internet usage rate in Romania in 2014, by age group, 2014). Romanian population also has a strong intension to go mobile – smart phones and tablets are more commonly purchased than the PCs.
Generally, the Romania population quickly embraced the mobile telephony and over several years it became the most popular means of communication and attracted some of the most recognized competitors of the European Union such as Orange, Vodafone, Digi, and Cosmote. At least 82 % of the Romanian households use mobile connection and about 41 % are connected to the internet (Social media guide, 2014). The internet is used by children, teenagers, youth, adults and elderly people, and half of the regular internet users daily access various social networks.
Some of the most common activities of the Romanian population online are the search for information and news, shopping, communication, and entertainment – are portion of these activities can be done with the help of social networks. Yet, they are much more frequently accessed by the youth rather than the older users. In the summer of 2011 about 63 thousand blogs created by the Romanian users were registered (these blogs are regularly accessed and read by around 3 million people) (Social media guide, 2014).
Twitter is another very popular social platform in Romania; around 51 thousand people have accounts on it. At the same time, the most popular website in Romania is Trilulilu.ro, it is a social network which provides the users with video sharing opportunities, this website has 3 million unique accounts (Social media guide, 2014). There are two more very popular local social networks called Netlog and Neogen. Yet, the most popular national social platform in Romania is Facebook with a penetration of 43.3 % reported in 2013 (Social media guide, 2014).
Social Issues and Campaigns
The fast growing popularity of the internet and social networks provides numerous opportunities for public attention raising. As a result, multiple social issues started to be addressed and discussed with the help of social media.
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One of the frequently discussed events in this sphere is the recent elections which were accompanied by a series of powerful social media campaigns on the most popular networks in Romania such as Twitter and Facebook. The purpose of the election campaigns of the two competing candidates Iohannis and Ponta was to create a massive buzz in the digital space of Romania (Csala, 2015). The impact of the followers of Iohannis was times stronger than that of the supporters of Ponta. Interestingly, the campaign of Ponta was generally stronger throughout the two rounds of elections. Yet, Iohannis’s followers initiated a very strong support during the final part of the process and this candidate is currently the president of Romania.
Petrovici and Dobrescu (2013) emphasize that the exploitation of the emotions of the audience is the main strategy of the social campaigns in Romania and characterize them as “modus vivendi”, a “unique” way of gaining visibility in the public space” (p. 71). Some of the most popular social campaigns run via TV and social media in Romania cover the issues of the children’s vulnerability in the internet, environmental responsibility, and equality.
As a member of the European Union, Romania showed slower economic development than the other countries. The penetration of the internet in Romania started later; yet moved at an incredibly speedy pace showing 500% improvement over just a few years. As a result, almost half of the Romanian population uses the internet regularly for shopping, search of information, news, and communication.
The internet in Romania today is all-consuming; its users include children, youth, adults, and elderly citizens. In the contemporary Romania, social media are a powerful tool for marketing and advertising, they have been re-conquering the market share that earlier belonged to the print media and television. Social situation in the country is also largely influenced by the tendencies happening in the digital space. For example, the presidential elections of 2014 engaged Facebook and Twitter and demonstrated the impact the social media are able to make and the number of individuals they may affect when they are used professionally.
Csala, D. (2015). How Social Media Won the 2014 Romanian Presidential Elections for Klaus Iohannis? Web.
Daily internet usage rate in Romania in 2014, by age group. (2014). Web.
Initiative. (2012). Media Fact Book: Romania 2012. Web.
Petrovici. A., & Dobrescu, T. (2013). New Trends in Responsible Romania: Social Campaigns. Social and Behavioral Sciences, 92, 697-701. Web.
Romania, Internet Usage Stats and Market Report. (2013). Web.
Social media guide. (2014). Web.
TV and on-demand audiovisual services in Romania. (2013). Web.