12 Apr

Social media and bullying in Azerbaijan

This week a young woman in Azerbaijan took her own life as a result of possible bullying. Video of the act and subsequent events were widely shared and discussed on social media. As a result, many Azerbaijanis are discussing the problem of bullying in schools. Here’s a summary of the case in English.

Here’s a NodeXL hashtag analysis of #BullinqəSon (End Bullying)

Here’s a NodeXL hashtag analysis of #Elinaüçünsusma (Don’t be silent about Elina) — this is more popular

Some caveats here regarding any sort of hashtag analysis:

  •  Twitter data downloads like this are always incomplete, as it is impossible to get the full dataset.
  • The results are a little skewed because a lot of the users are tweeting at the President and First Lady to do something. Obviously they have a lot of followers, so a lot of these “importance” metrics are impacted by that.
  • Twitter isn’t a great venue to consider Azerbaijani public discussion of such topics, in particular this one that is of great interest to young people. I’ve seen far more on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, etc. I can only imagine WhatsApp has a great deal of this as well.
  • Social media are always performative. The need to let one’s audience know that they care about this issue is not always the same as discussion about solutions.
  • Social media “influencers” sometimes feel compelled to have a hot take on the topic of the day and sometimes they’ll say provocative things because it leads to more engagement. There have been a few “celebrities” in Azerbaijan, especially on Instagram, doing this. I wouldn’t take this as the complete story.

And some general thoughts on social media campaigns, with a bullying angle. I’m not a bullying expert, but I’ve talked to people that are and these thoughts are influenced by that. (Thanks to them! Especially Lindsay Blackwell and her excellent work on cyberbullying.)

  • For campaigns to be taken seriously by young people, they need to feel sincere. I’m under the impression that some of these campaigns have been started by people that young people in Azerbaijan may not follow and that may not be entirely relatable. Decades of research shows that adult-created campaigns aimed at youth frequently fail. I worked on an environmental campaign aimed at middle school and high school students and I cannot even begin to tell you how much money was spent on materials that the young people laughed at. We ran focus groups to see what sort of messages resonated with the young people and where they were most likely to be influenced (both media channels and with peers) and it was entirely different from what the campaign organizers had done.
  • Campaigns need to be multifaceted, especially when there is a goal of behavioral change. There is currently criticism that schools are securing windows (the young woman jumped out of a window), but at the same time, such an act is probably a good idea and can be done immediately. It does not mean that the school is not working on other strategies and actions to reduce bullying and its effects.
  • Who is the target of the campaign? Is it bullies asking them to not bully other children? Is it those that are the victims of bullying telling them to be strong? Or is it potential bystanders, asking them to intervene? The messages will be different!
    • With bystanders in particular, which is the hypothetical largest audience, in any campaign, people need to be told what to do. For example, in the US, there was a campaign about forest fires that said “Only you can prevent forest fires” but the campaign did not actually tell people how to prevent forest fires! So, in the bullying case, potential bystanders need instructions about what to do if they see a classmate being bullied. (And at least at my own child’s school, there is an entire curriculum about this from the very early years.)
    • Victims need different messaging about what they can do as well as a sense that there are others out there experiencing bullying. According to my expert colleagues, bullying feels very isolating and it is hard to see that there are others in the same position. So campaigns whereby people disclose that they were bullied and what they did about it can be helpful.
    • The bullies themselves are also children and conventional wisdom says that children that are bullies are not infrequently subject to problems at home, have mental health issues, etc. – they also need help.
    • Schools and parents also need help! Law enforcement too!
  • For campaigns to be effective with young people, the message needs to also be relatable and from an authentic figure. For example, a gorgeous 30-year-old actress saying that she was bullied in school may not be believable in the eyes of a 13-year-old who sees that actress leading a glamorous life and looking beautiful. We see that a bit with the “It Gets Better” type campaigns with celebrity focuses versus “#metoo” whereby the majority of the messaging comes from “regular” people.
  • Figuring out who is influential among young people in Azerbaijan (and on what platform) but still relatable and if that person did in fact experience bullying (and it is believable that they did) or perhaps they were an intervening bystander would be a very good tactic. In fact, in the words of one of my bullying expert colleagues, that would be infinitely more helpful than a Ministry of Education campaign that takes months or years to design.
  • Decades of research shows that suicide has a potential copycat effect. It is incredibly irresponsible for media outlets (and individual users) to share the video where this young woman takes the action.
  • In Azerbaijan there are laws related to suicide and it is a criminal offense to “cause” someone to commit suicide. I have to admit that this seems strange to me as an American. Certainly it is not possible to demonstrate this beyond reasonable doubt and the mental health issues that those considering suicide are facing are numerous. There is a great deal of social media speculation about this young woman’s family, the role that the school administration played or didn’t play in her death, the young woman’s romantic and sexual life, etc. In my opinion, such discussions do little to help anyone – those grieving or those trying to reducing bullying and its effects.

As a takeaway, although tragic, as a result of this young woman’s death, the very real problem of bullying in schools is now being discussed more widely in Azerbaijan and that is a good thing. Those that want to try to help – both immediately and in the long term – would be well-advised to look at the existing work on anti-bullying campaigns before jumping in.

17 Jun

Urbanness and Facebook in Azerbaijan

woman

Click here for other posts about Facebook use in the South Caucasus. Here is a guide to how I get these data.

Years of empirical research show that Internet use is far more common in cities than in rural areas and this continues to be true in Azerbaijan.

As of June 2018, 32% of the total population of Azerbaijan is on Facebook, 30% of the 14+ age population. That’s 44% of men and 21% of women.

60% of 15-24 year olds are on Facebook, 78% of men and 41% of women.

But, in looking at geography, 81% of all Facebook users in Azerbaijan are within 25 miles (~40 km) of the capital, Baku and if one only looks at women, 87% of female Facebook users in Azerbaijan are within 25 miles of Baku.

18 Apr

Facebook in Azerbaijan, April 2018

It has been quite awhile since I last blogged about Facebook use in the Caucasus. Again, here is a guide to how I get these data. Click on the tags for previous rates.

According to Facebook, as of April 2018, around 2,900,000 Azerbaijanis, about 30% of the total population, or more accurately, 28% of the population over age 14, are on Facebook.

Over half of all Azerbaijani men (over age 14) are on Facebook (well, 55%) and 26% of Azerbaijani women (over age 14) are on Facebook. This has been the trend for as long as I’ve been tracking this.

Looking at just youth, about 56% of Azerbaijanis ages 15-24 use Facebook. 73% of males that age and 37% of females that age. In September of 2016, 58% of young men were on the site while 31% of young women were. It seems that there was a huge growth in use by young men, but much less with young women.

As always, these numbers are to be taken with a grain of salt. This is information from Facebook ads.

04 Dec

Azerbaijan – 2015 sources of information

The EBRD Life in Transition survey changed their wording on this question quite a bit this wave, so it is difficult to compare to the past. But here I present the frequency of Azerbaijanis using various media as an information source.  The question says: “People use different sources to learn what is going on in their country and the world. For each of the following sources, please indicate how often you use it:” with a variety of choices from never to daily.

I find the talking with others at 73% really interesting. As comparison, here are other countries in the region:

04 Dec

Frequency of using the Internet and social media as an information source in Eurasia, 2015

The EBRD Life in Transition survey changed their wording on this question quite a bit this wave, so it is difficult to compare to the past. But here I present the frequency of Eurasians using the Internet and social media as an information source.  The question says: “People use different sources to learn what is going on in their country and the world. For each of the following sources, please indicate how often you use it:” with a variety of choices from never to daily.

This is Internet

and social media

It is hard to say if people understood the difference between the Internet and social media. I’d guess that they did not. I eyeball’d the crosstabs and it seems that the nevers in both groups are pretty heavily overlapping.

And, of course, anyone that knows anything about media consumption knows that the vast majority of people get their news from TV. Nonetheless, I wanted to also provide a bit of context for the South Caucasus, Russia, and Turkey. If you’re interested in other countries, please contact me.

More to come!

04 Dec

PC/tablet ownership in Eurasia in 2015

A few years ago I made some graphics and a blog post showing personal computer ownership in Europe and Eurasia based on the EBRD’s Life in Transition survey.

Last week I presented these data to some graduate students and that reminded me that I should update this! There are 2015-2016 data available and the picture has changed quite a bit. Also, notably, the question wording changed. Now people are asked if anyone in their household owns a personal computer, laptop, or tablet and if they don’t is it because they cannot afford it or for another reason. I present both here.


Link to the original image

01 Sep

Facebook in Azerbaijan, September 2017

It has been quite awhile since I last blogged about Facebook use in the Caucasus.  Again, here is a guide to how I get these data.

According to Facebook, as of September 2017, around 2,600,000 Azerbaijanis,  27% of the total population, or more accurately, 26% of the population over age 14, are on Facebook. A year ago it was 1,500,000, 15% of the over 14 population. That’s a huge leap.

Half of all Azerbaijani men (over age 14) are on Facebook (well, 49.73%) and 22.5% of Azerbaijani women (over age 14) are on Facebook. This has been the trend for as long as I’ve been tracking this.

Looking at just youth, about 61% of Azerbaijanis ages 15-24 use Facebook. 80% of males that age and 41% of females that age. In September of 2016, 58% of young men were on the site while 31% of young women were. It seems that there was a huge growth in use by young men, but much less with young women.

As always, these numbers are to be taken with a grain of salt. This is information from Facebook ads.

Save

Save

12 Jan

Facebook in Azerbaijan, January 2017

fbig

It has been quite awhile since I last blogged about Facebook use in the Caucasus. Two interesting changes have happened: one, Facebook now also gives Instagram data and two, Facebook now reports on number of users in an average day. Thus numbers may seem lower. Again, here is a guide to how I get these data.

According to Facebook, around 980,000 Azerbaijanis are active on the site daily. That’s 10% of the total population. 14% of Azerbaijani men and 6.5% of Azerbaijani women use the site daily. As has been the trend in Azerbaijan, about twice as many men use the site as women do.

Looking at just youth, about 22% of Azerbaijanis ages 15-24 use Facebook daily. 46% of males that age and 12% of females that age. The male percentage has remained steady over the time that I’ve been looking at this, but it appears that the percentage of young women using the site has dropped. Currently, 4 times as many young men use the site than young women.

According to the same Facebook ad system, approximately 770,000 Azerbaijanis use Instagram daily – 470,000 men (10%) and 290,000 women (6%). These numbers are actually pretty close to the numbers that use Facebook.

24% of 15-24 year old Azerbaijanis use Instagram daily, 31% of young men and 17% of young women. While certainly there are likely overlaps, it does appear that Instagram is more popular than Facebook with young Azerbaijani women.

As always, these numbers are to be taken with a grain of salt.

14 Dec

Gender-based violence in Azerbaijan

A colleague asked about research on gender-based violence in Azerbaijan and I started to answer her e-mail with some results from the 2011 CRRC Social capital, media, and gender survey, but quickly realized I might as well write a blog post on this! I did an analysis on some of the gender items a number of years ago that may be of interest as well.

Gender-based violence is not my area of expertise. However, I do think that it is incredibly difficult to understand these issues through survey data. Nonetheless, the results are telling. Unfortunately I don’t have the means/SD on these, just frequencies, but if there is interest, I can report them at a later date.

I think that it would also be interesting to look at this by region (capitol, urban cities, villages) as well as by education and income level. But that is for another day. On with the results!

While over half of Azerbaijani adult respondents believed that there are not times where it is okay for a woman to be beaten…

Unsurprisingly, two-thirds of women are not keen on this, while less than half of men are.

Yet, despite the answers about there being times where a woman may deserve to be beaten, It seems that some (over a third) believe that a woman should tolerate violence in order to keep the family together.

Although it appears that women and men may slightly disagree on this point.

But when actually reporting on the practice, despite the mixed feelings about women deserving to be beaten and possibly reasons why they may deserve it, there is some evidence that people does believe that beatings are common. This graphic shows beliefs about how common both husband/partner beatings are, as well as mother-in-law beatings. The high “don’t knows” are important to acknowledge here.

When broken down by gender, many more men “don’t know” if husband beatings are occurring.

And it appears that men do not have as strong of a sense if mother-in-law beatings are occurring, which is logical.