Geography of "digital footprints" of Kaliningrad citizens in the border regions of Poland and Lithuania: results of content analysis
Widespread introduction of digital technologies into human life has resulted in the accumulation of huge amounts of digital data that enables quantitative assessment of various social processes. This article uses data on Internet search user queries in the border region, namely the Kaliningrad region of Russia, to assess the interest of its inhabitants in establishing local cross-border links with the border regions of Poland and Lithuania. The data source is the Yandex. Wordstat open service, which displays statistics and geography of queries in the Yandex search engine. The study covered 101 settlements in the Russian-Polish and 93 in the Russian-Lithuanian border area. The authors analyzed the frequency and the content of 3,277 unique queries made between February and April 2022 and containing at least one placename of the primary sample. The study came up with the calculation of monthly indices of user digital interest in the Kaliningrad region — general (for each locality) and thematic (for certain areas of cross-border interactions — tourism and recreation, trade and shopping, education, work, housing and moving). It was revealed that in the 100-km border zone, fewer than 40 % of settlements with a population of 1 thousand people in Lithuania and 2 thousand people in Poland were the object of a targeted search for residents of the Russian region. A higher level of frequency and variety of search queries is typical for larger cities, while their territorial proximity to the border did not significantly affect the dynamics of Internet search. Only five cities — Polish Gdansk, Olsztyn, Gdynia and Lithuanian Kaunas, Klaipeda, are represented in all five thematic categories of requests in the areas of cross-border interactions.