Author: YANA PELOVSKA, researcher
Media Development Center, Bulgaria
Statistics and data about the online sector in Bulgaria are not available and that is why it is hard to tell the actual number or share of people who inform themselves primarily from social media. As things currently stand, traditional sources, such as TV and newspapers (and mostly the former), remain the most influential sources of news. While trust in TV, in particular, has been eroding for some time, the majority of Bulgarians still watch and get information from the three biggest channels in the country.12 In the meantime, social media are becoming more and more popular across most segments of the population. It has more to do with sheer technological evolution and the penetration of technologies, such as computers and mobile phones. “Facebook is by far the most prevalent social media in Bulgaria. It is used by all segments of the population. The most notable somewhat recent development show a large portion of the people above the age of 40 joining the network, following the initial wave of mostly younger people that joined after Facebook’s inception over ten years ago”, says Boyan Inavovich from Perceptica, company specialized in monitoring, measurement and analytics of mainstream and social media. As is the case in other countries, teenagers and young adults are also drawn in to other social media, like Instagram and WhatsApp. They represent the vast majority of users of those media. Twitter is a somewhat interesting case in Bulgaria where not that many people have Twitter accounts. It could be argued that the microblogging platform is popular amongst more ‘elitist’ users who tend to represent the better educated and more tech savvy part of the population. The typical Bulgarian Twitter user is a marketing expert, a social media specialist, or a programmer. This creates a sort of an echo chamber where most influential Twitter users hold mostly similar views of political, economic, etc. matters, which views are far from representative for the entire population. The blogosphere, for one, seems to be a dying phenomenon in Bulgaria (alongside forums – to some extent). While bloggers did emerge as influential opinion leaders a couple of years ago, they have slowly been losing their popularity ever since, with many of them turning to Facebook as a better platform to have their positions heard.
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