Russian Language Blog

Social Networking – In Russian Posted by on Aug 8, 2011 in Culture

In recent years, a new term has become popular on the internet: «социальная сеть» [social network]. Some of these sites seem to be «международный» [international], like «Фейсбук» [Facebook]. Others, like «В Контакте» [V Kontakte] are not. Not only are social networks fun, but they can also help you learn a language. How? Read on to find out.

«Что такое социальная сеть?» [What is a social network?] Wikipedia says that it is «интерактивный веб-сайт» [an interactive website]. Furthermore, «обычно возможно указать информацию о себе» [you usually put information about yourself], such as «дата рождения, школа, вуз, и т.д.» [birthday, school, university, etc.].

The whole point of social networking sites, of course, is to «найти друзей» [find your friends]. Usually you will be able to search for specific people so that, in Facebook terminology, you can «добавить в друзья» [add to your friends (list)].

«Сначала» [At the beginning] of the social networking phenomenon, usually «молодёжь» [the youth, young people] were using these websites, but now «много людей» [many people] use them.

So, how can using social networking sites help you learn a foreign language? In many ways! «Например» [For example], you can go to «настройки» and change your language settings. My Facebook is «только на русском» [only in Russian] and this has helped me learn computer vocabulary.

If you want to interact with Russian people, you could join «В Контакте» [V Kontakte]. «Этот веб-сайт похож на Фейсбук, но на русском.» [This website looks like Facebook, but in Russian.] The design is similar to the old Facebook design. «К сожалению, нужно приглашение, чтобы войти [Unfortunately, you need an invitation to log in.] If anyone reading this needs an invitation, I may be able to give you one (if I can remember my account password!).

You can also seek out Russian speakers on «Твиттер» [Twitter]. «Твиттер тоже на русском» [Twitter is also in Russian], so you can learn some new vocabulary. Also, with Twitter, you communicate with «короткие сообщения» [short messages], which means you won’t get too overwhelmed with very long sentences.

Do you have any tips for learning Russian by using social networking? Share below!

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About the Author: Natalie

I'm Natalie and I love the Russian language and sharing my knowledge with others. I graduated from university with a dual degree in Russian language & literature and history.


  1. Matt:

    I would love a Vkontakte invite if you are able to send any

  2. Roberta:

    President Medvedev has a Twitter feed. He doesn’t post often, but you can follow him and get short pronouncements from the man nominally in charge of Russia.

  3. David c:

    Could you invite me to b kontakte?

  4. Natalie:

    I’ve been meaning to join V Kontakte — do you think you could invite me? I’d really appreciate it!

    As for social networking, I recently joined a language exchange site looking for coffee and/or Skype partners — I’ve gotten a surprising number of messages, both from people in Russia/Ukraine and in my city!

  5. PaulS:

    Could you possibly send me an invite? As you say I think it’d be great for learning. I have a few Russian friends on facebook but 99% are English speaking 🙂

    I’ve also started trying to read some Russian forums. Since I use computers a lot I thought this might start to help me learn.

  6. Matteo:

    VKontakte is no more on invitation to log in…well, it worked for me in this way.

    VKontakte, at the moment, is the only way to keep in touch with Russian people that doesn’t know english very well…

  7. sandeep:

    yeah…true!! vk is great for improving russian!! i already have a vk account for a few months….it really helps so much. with much difficulty i succeeded in making an account with help of a good russian boy!! i made a lot of russian friends and chatted with many and very quickly learned a lot of new words and expressions of general communication… also helps you learn proper use of particular russian words in proper context that you can’t get unless interact with native people…

  8. PaulS:

    I would be interested to see how vk compares with Facebook and Google+ too. Plus it has the bonus of making me try to learn Russian more quickly 🙂

    @Natalie, I also joined a Penpal site and now regularly chat with some Russian friends who wanted to learn more English.

  9. PaulS:

    Doh! Sorry, my browser had cached the page so I didn’t think my post had worked. Opps 🙁

  10. Cássio:

    I follow some Russians in my Twitter and sometimes i try to interact with them. I guess my Russian is too broken for that since they either answer me in English or I get no answer. The same happens with my Russian acquaitances in Facebook.

  11. Natalie:

    Paul, have you actually tried voice chatting with them? I’m a little afraid to!

  12. PaulS:

    Natalie, I haven’t done that yet. I have one friend and we send each other mp3 recordings of what we’re saying and even though we’re both on Skype we’ve never attempted chatting.

    I’m exactly the same, I think I’m a little afraid to do so 🙂 I think I know too little Russian at the moment to say much more than ‘Hello, I am a man and I am not tall’ 😉

  13. Vasuda: is also good. If you studied in erstwhile USSR, then you can find your classmates and friends through this. It works jus like facebook.

  14. piuma:

    poprobuite livemocha i busuu

  15. PaulS:

    A friend invited me onto vkontakte 🙂 I found the English speaking groups as well so I can help people with their English and I can get help with my Russian.

  16. Janna:

    An invitation would be wonderful!

  17. nilo:

    hi all russian language learners, i learnt 2 yrs in dhaka, but it didn`t give me anything,i lost hope that i`ll ever be able to speak in the language of PUSHKIN/GOGOL, 5 years later i found some guys from russia and former ussr regions as well, and thanks to all of them, in less than 6 months i`m expressing all in this sweetest language, (though i make emany mistakes)***i`m using both odnoklassniki+vkontakte, i cant remember i needed any invitation, its just as simple, welcome to join me in vkontakte(ghose nile),its really amazing to use social sites in other languages, any queries r welcomed(

  18. Dmitri Minaev:

    >>> «К сожалению, надо приглашение, чтобы войти.»

    Should be «К сожалению, нужно приглашение, чтобы войти.»

  19. Natalie:

    Всем привет. I am still trying to recover my password (I can’t remember which email I used to sign up for VK) but the good news is: I don’t know if you need a user to invite you anymore. If you look here (, I think you can get an invitation code to your phone.

  20. sveta:

    i would love an invite to vkontakte! spasibo!

  21. Spanish translator:

    Social networking is a great tool to learn other languages. In Twitter for example, you can follow who tweets topics of your interest in the language that you would like to learn and do the same on Facebook by liking pages that are created in the language of your interest.

  22. Anastasia Sorokina:

    Dear friends who are learning Russian, I am a graduate linguistics student who is conducting research with Russian learners. I am looking for participants for on-line experiment that will take maximum 20 minutes. If you would like to contribute, please follow this link Thank you very much!
    I appreciate your help

    Requirements for participants:
    – ages 18-30
    – native English speakers
    -Russian Advanced Speakers