Hayrikyan hashtag analysis

Paruyr Hayrikyan, a candidate in the current campaign for the presidency of Armenia was shot late Thursday evening in Tpagrichner street, downtown Yerevan. The wound was not fatal and it is reported that he was shot in the shoulder. ArmeniaNow (English), RFERL (Armenian).

Who is talking about Hayrikyan on Twitter? Here’s a hashtag analysis from Feb 1, 12:20am Yerevan time.

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Top tweeters:
amakhmuryan
Armnewstweets
TERTam_arm
Peenis_1
a1plusnews
GoldenTent
freddddddy_
PanARMENIANNet
TERTam_eng
eMedia_am

Mostly news organizations.

More analysis to come!

Here’s a hashtag analysis from Feb 1, 1:12am Yerevan time.

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And with other name spelling full report

Here’s a hashtag analysis from Feb 1, 3:30pm Yerevan time.

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This is mostly news sharing. Not a lot of conversation.

Here’s the analysis from Feb 1, 8pm Yerevan time.

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Foreign language learning in the Caucasus

I am so impressed with the linguistic abilities of my Caucasus friends. Growing up in a culture where bilingualism is uncommon, I am so envious of all the languages spoken by these friends.

I have a piece in progress right now that looks at the influence of English language proficiency on Internet use in Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. Because of that I’ve been thinking about languages a lot.

Now, 2 decades after the Soviet Union collapsed, language attitudes are sort of all over the place. Here is some self-plagiarism (from the article mentioned above):

Language plays an important identity role in post-Soviet societies (Kleshik, 2010).  In the Soviet period, the Caucasus were unique in that their national languages were considered official languages and government materials, media, and education were provided in both Russian and the local languages (Pavlenko, 2008).  However, while Russian never became the dominant language in the Caucasus, high fluency in Russian was necessary for one to get ahead in the non-Russian Soviet republics.  Urban families were able to choose to send their children to national or Russian language schools, and Russian schools generally were of better quality with newer textbooks.  Traditionally the second language of choice would have been Russian (during the tsarist and Soviet periods); however, today, more and more young people are opting to learn English as well.
Armenian. Armenian is an Indo-European language with no strong relationship with other languages (Comrie, 1987) and a unique script dating to the fifth century.  The script has not been well supported in computer operating systems, nor did a single encoding system dominate early computer use.  It is very common, especially on mobile phones, for Armenian to be written in Latin script, developing into an informal orthography.  Five to six million people speak Armenian (Grimes, 1992), although it is difficult to determine the number that can read and write, because for many speakers Armenian is a heritage language spoken in the household while the language of education and work is another language.  Many families live in bi- or trilingual households and children are raised multilingual from birth (Petrossian, 1997).
Azerbaijani. Azerbaijani is closely related to Turkish.  As Azerbaijani people lived under various empires, competing scripts (Perso-Arabic, Latin, Cyrillic) were used over different periods.  In particular, during the Soviet period, Azerbaijanis in the Republic of Azerbaijan used Cyrillic, while Azerbaijanis in Iran used Perso-Arabic.  After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Azerbaijan decided to use the Turkish Latin script, although certainly older Azerbaijanis continue to use the script in which they were educated, Cyrillic.  The move to the Turkish Latin alphabet benefits Azerbaijanis because there is no need for a special encoding script on personal computers or mobile phones (although ç becomes “c,”  ı  becomes “i”, ə because “e” or “a,” but in the context of a sentence, the replacement letter makes sense).  There are likely about 20 million Azerbaijani speakers in the world.  However, like Armenians, heritage speakers as well as the different scripts used mean that it is challenging for Azerbaijanis to communicate with each other via text.
Georgian. Georgian is a complex language that is part of the Kartvelian language family, unrelated to any other language.  Like Armenian, Georgian has a unique script that has been a barrier for using technology, although writing Georgian in Latin script is not an uncommon workaround.  Between 4-5 million people speak Georgian, but with some heritage speakers, it is unknown how many are literate.
Russian Language Skill.  In the Soviet era, the Armenian language assumed a hegemonic function compared to many other republics because of a strong national intelligentsia (Suny, 1994).  Russian remains the most popular second language and a great deal of Russian language media is present to this day.  Between 74-87% of Armenians surveyed each year in 2006-2010 said that it is very important for Armenian children to learn Russian, and an additional 11-20% said that it is somewhat important (Gallup Organization, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010).
In Azerbaijan in the post-Soviet period, the government “demoted” Russian (banned in media and advertising in 2007) and promoted Turkish.  Recently, English has become a popular second language choice as well (Shafiyeva & Kennedy, 2010).  Nonetheless, Russian language instruction is still popular in Azerbaijan (Marquardt, 2011).   Between 35-49% of Azerbaijanis surveyed each year in 2006-2010 said that it is very important for Azerbaijani children to learn Russian, and an additional 39-50% said that it is somewhat important (Gallup Organization, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010).
In Georgia during the Soviet era, the Georgian language remained a strong part of public life, although Russian was still considered an elite language.  In 1970, most rural Georgians (91.4%) and over half of urban Georgians (63%) had low proficiency in Russian (Suny, 1994).  In the post-Soviet period, because of Georgia’s poor relationship with Russia, the Russian language has been strongly discouraged at the governmental level (banned in advertising and media in 2004), although citizens still believe that it is a useful language to know (Kleshik, 2010).  Between 43-69% of Georgians surveyed each year in 2006-2010 said that it is very important for Georgian children to learn Russian, and an additional 27-40% said that it is somewhat important (Gallup Organization, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010).
English. Based on the author’s observations, English language learning seems to have become more popular in these countries since the 1990s.  At least in Azerbaijan, others confirm that English has become a popular second language choice (Shafiyeva & Kennedy, 2010).  But English language education is not available to all.  Urbanites and the rich have greater access to schools with English language instruction as well as private tutoring that would allow someone to reach a higher level of proficiency (Pearce, 2011).

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So, with that, I wanted to look at attitudes toward foreign language instruction. In the 2011 Caucasus Barometer, people were asked if any foreign language should be mandatory in school (none, any, Russian, English, and other were the choices — I wish this had been open ended, but whatever… The lack of Turkish as a choice for Azerbaijan bothers me the most).

Let’s be honest – Armenian and Georgian especially are not the most practical languages to know, in terms of global opportunities. Because of this, I speculated that more upwardly mobile people would be more keen on foreign language instruction.

 

arm1 az1 ge1

These graphics were created by Katy Pearce based on her analysis of the 2011 Caucasus Barometer. Any questions should be directed to @katypearce on Twitter.
This is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Based on a work at www.katypearce.net. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://www.katypearce.net/cv/info.

What is a good citizen (in the Caucasus)? 2011

For a variety of reasons, I’ve been thinking about what it means to be a good citizen in the Caucasus. With the growing differences between Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan (differences culturally, politically, etc.), I was wondering how people view themselves vis-a-vis their country.

And lo-and-behold, there were major differences (all noted here are statistically significant).

(This is all based on the 2011 Caucasus Barometer)

11

Takeaway: Caucasus citizens believe in forming their own opinions. (And if you’re ever been at a dinner in the Caucasus, you’d probably agree. ;))

21

Takeaway: Caucasian citizens like following the law. (There might be some social desirability effect here.)

31

Takeaway: Georgians are pretty cool with the idea that they don’t always have to support their government. No surprise here. Armenians and Azerbaijanis though? Not so much. While it isn’t through the roof,  this is a pretty large chunk of supporters. This is worth further analysis.

13

Takeaway: Once again, Georgians are the most keen on being critical toward the government. Azerbaijanis are the least (no shock here).

Azerbaijan’s been on my mind a lot lately and with Azerbaijan, perhaps even more than with Armenia or Georgia, rural/urban differences are exceptionally important to acknowledge. So I ran a second analysis on differences on these topics between capital / regional cities/ rural.

61

Takeaway: Urban people are fond of forming one’s own opinion. Maybe this is a reflection of the autonomy that regional urban city residents have from the goings-on in Baku? But rural people being more independently minded than Bakuvians? Not sure on this one — maybe people that are part of the system?

71

Takeaway: Rural people are least inclined to believe supporting the government is important? Interesting! I need to think on this one.

111

Takeaway, Bakuvians are most critical, urban the least. Need to think on this one as well.

 

These graphics were created by Katy Pearce based on her analysis of the 2011 Caucasus Barometer. Any questions should be directed to @katypearce on Twitter.
This is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Based on a work at www.katypearce.net. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://www.katypearce.net/cv/info.

What are these knots of string doing all over your blog, Katy?

For the last 2 weeks, I’ve been posting a lot of images on my blog, but I haven’t taken the time to explain what or why or how these are happening.

Azerbaijan, one of the countries that I study, is experiencing some turmoil right now. Briefly, a soldier was killed in the military as a result of hazing. There was a coverup, but it was found out and photos of the soldier’s body came out on social media. As a result, a demonstration was organized, mainly on Facebook, to protest this sort of thing occurring in the military. (It is not uncommon.)

On January 12, the protest occurred.

At first I was involved in social media as I normally am – retweeting, sharing stories, etc. because I have a general interest in democracy and technology in this country. But then I had an idea to analyze the tweets. This seemed especially important to me because there was a bit of a battle occurring on the main event hashtag #protestbaku between pro-government and more democratically-inclined social media users.

So, thanks to Marc Smith, the first social network analysis of the #protestbaku hashtag was created about 3 hours after the protest started using the NodeXL program.

What is a social network analysis? Via Wikipedia:

Social network analysis (SNA) is the methodical analysis of social networks. Social network analysis views social relationships in terms of network theory, consisting of nodes (representing individual actors within the network) and ties (which represent relationships between the individuals, such as friendship, kinship, organizational position, sexual relationships, etc.) These networks are often depicted in a social network diagram, where nodes are represented as points and ties are represented as lines.

And NodeXL is a free tool that works with Microsoft Excel to create interactive network visualizations. It is fairly easy to use once you get used to it.

So with this program, you can see who follows whom on Twitter, who replies to each other, etc. And then it shows this all visually.

After the first January 12 protest, I did a new analysis of all the tweets, then again after the weekend was over. Then a week later I ran the analysis again and again.

The pro-government social media users started a counter-hashtag to shame a journalist. I noticed that there were a lot of strange twitter accounts associated with that hashtag. Analysis of that is here and here. I’m not going to leap to any conclusions, but please read for yourself.

Then on January 23, a riot began in a regional city Ismayilli. There was much tweeting about it, mainly from people not on the ground. But once again I did analysis of the tweets. I also made a graphic of the changing dynamics of the hashtag.

Then on January 26, another protest was organized in Baku and once again the #protestbaku hashtag was used. I kept all the analysis on one page here.

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So why am I doing this?

  • I am a social scientist. I like seeing patterns in things and I believe that this sort of modeling can add to understanding.
  • I have the resources (time, computing power, skills) to do this.
  • I like making analyses accessible to people that don’t have the skills that I do.
  • I believe that information (to some extent) should be free. Moreover, I imagine that people in power have tools to understand networks like this and giving this information to everyone is more egalitarian.
  • This information (social media data) is already out there in the world, just not organized in this way.
  • I believe in freedom of expression. I am deeply sad that there is little freedom of expression in Azerbaijan.
  • If this analysis can be a tool for those supporting freedom of expression, that gives me a great deal of joy. I hope that it is not also being used as a tool of suppression, but that is the price one pays for transparency and openness.
  • It is possible that at some point I will write up some of this in the form of an academic article.
  • I’ve received a lot of positive feedback from those involved in these events that this analysis has been useful to them. It isn’t often that this sort of thing can have an immediate application, so this is really cool.

In the meantime, I am happy to answer any questions about this.

 

#protestbaku – part 2

So there is a new protest on January 26. It started at 3pm Baku time. Here’s the analysis for 4pm Baku time.

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229 users with 3559 in the last 5 hours.

most common words:

protestbaku – the hashtag itself
rt – retweet
ismayilli – the hashtag for the other event of the week
police – obvious
azerbaijan – obvious
detained – telling
sahil – means coast/shore, referring to Sahil Park
eminmilli – at the protest, was detained
polis – police
baku – obvious
və – and
ruslanazad – a main tweeter
azerbaycan – Azerbaijan in Azerbaijani
muntezir – a main tweeter
protest – obvious
turanoza – a main tweeter
saxlanıldı – held
plan – tweeeted “plan b” when protest moved from 1 location to another
huseynovaturkan – a main tweeter
b – from plan b
emin – common name
bağına – garden (?)
ismayil – Khadija Ismayil, journalist
milli – national and surname of Emin Milli

Top URLs are live videostreams and photos:
http://www.azadliq.org/contentlive/liveblog/24884298.html
http://www.rightnow.io/breaking-news/protestbaku_bn_1359197421844.html
http://bambuser.com/channel/AzadliqRadiosu
https://www.facebook.com/emin.milli/posts/388093684619805
http://bambuser.com/v/3321628
http://instagram.com/p/U8gor1knUu/
http://bambuser.com/v/3321611
http://twitpic.com/byc5tp
http://bambuser.com/v/3321599
http://twitter.com/sakitoglu/status/295097698686734336/photo/1

As far as the groups – they are a little strange to me this time. I’m open to any interpretations/suggestions here!

Here’s the analysis for 6pm Baku time.

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265 users with 3217 in the last 2 hours (basically since the last analysis was run — in a few hours, I’ll combine all the hours for a full analysis).

4 groups now – group 1 is foreigners and people with a large foreign followership like Emin Milli and FuserLimon. Group 2 are people tweeting in Azerbaijani on the ground. Group 3 is news broadcasters like Muntezir. Group 4 seems to focus on Arzu Geybulla.

But as you can see, all of these people are in a pretty close looped network. They’re mainly following each other.

Here’s the analysis for 8pm Baku time.

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285 users with 3652 in the last 2 hours (basically since the last analysis was run — in a few hours, I’ll combine all the hours for a full analysis).

2am Jan 26 Baku time – this is the last 7 hours

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Users: 385
Tweets: 5651

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1am January 28 update

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#ismayilli hashtag analysis

More stuff happening in Baku.

While I would argue that Facebook is the best place to get news about Azerbaijan, there is some Twitter activity too.

Tonight there was some sort of protest outside of Baku, this via Khadija Ismayil’s Facebook.

“It seems there is a social protest in Ismayilli, 300 km to the north from capital Baku. Protesters burnt cars, allegedly owned by the son of the city governor and tried to burn the ill-reputed motel, allegedly owned by one of the ministers who also happen to be a kin to the city governor. It is getting hot. Crowd is moving towards the house of the governor Facebook users report.”

THIS IS ANALYSIS FROM 12:45AM BAKU TIME
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The clusters and groups aren’t that interesting, given the small number of people writing. However, the links to photos and videos are very useful.

THIS IS ANALYSIS FROM 1:45AM BAKU TIME

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While I was running that report, the first video came out, so I ran it again. User Muntezir loaded it and you can see how it spread through this.

2AM BAKU TIME

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4AM BAKU TIME

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11AM BAKU TIME

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At about 9am Baku time, a new hashtag emerged called #riotsismayilli and I’m collecting those tweets as well, but there isn’t a lot being written there that is unique from the main #ismayilli hashtag.

6PM BAKU TIME

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The #riotsismayilli hashtag still isn’t catching on very well. (I sort of wish people would stick to one.)

10PM BAKU TIME

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(Looking at the 10pm analysis – seems to be a language issue for the clusters. Group 1 is tweeting in Azerbaijani, group 2 is English, and group 3 includes news broadcasters (and a mix of languages) and muntezir, who is a key news spreader.

11PM BAKU TIME

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JAN 25 1AM BAKU TIME

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JAN 25 5AM BAKU TIME

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JAN 25 6PM BAKU TIME

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Once again, Baxtiyar Hajiyev has his own cluster group.

It also appears that the protest event that is scheduled for Saturday has a lot of competing hashtags: silahsiz (without weapons) and 26yanvar (26th of January), for example.
Also note some interesting inappropriate language – looks like 1 tweet became very popular in group 1.

JAN 25 9PM BAKU TIME

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JAN 26 2AM BAKU TIME

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