Okay okay okay… a sneak preview.
Previous posts on Azerbaijan and gender online for context…
* Gender online, Azerbaijan, 2012, Caucasus Barometer
* Regional and gender Internet activities, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, 2012, Caucasus Barometer
* Internet infographic, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, 2012, Caucasus Barometer
* Social networking sites, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, 2012, Caucasus Barometer
* All technology, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia (with gender and regional), 2011, Caucasus Barometer
* All technology, Azerbaijan (with gender), 2011, Caucasus Barometer
And here’s one sneak peek at what’s going on in Azerbaijan with women getting online in 2013.
My favorite day of the year is here! No, not Fat Tuesday – but new Caucasus Barometer data day!
I’ll be posting a variety of analyses over the coming weeks, but here’s the one everyone loves – percent of adult Internet users in each country.
First, let us all acknowledge that I hate talking about Internet penetration because I think that it is meaningless to talk about percentage of users without contextualizing the economic, social, political, and cultural environment in which Internet use exists.
And here are dozens of other posts about technology use in the Caucasus.
This is data from the Caucasus Barometer, which is a trustworthy source. Read more about it at the link or check out their page and play around with the data. These results are all for adults.
First, this year’s distribution:
You can see that a large percentage of Caucasians aren’t using the Internet. Again, I’d rather be talking about who those people are (poorer, older, rural, less educated, women) than just percentages, but alas, this is what you all want, isn’t it? You can also see that most Internet users are online daily, although in Azerbaijan, they’re fairly divided between daily and once a week.
Now, on to the trends over time:
Next, those who ever use:
Ever used – this is a bit meaningless, as the benefits of Internet use are certainly relative to how often one is using it. Getting online less than one a month is an entirely different experience than being online daily (or all day long as is often the case.) But again, people are really interested in this. Each country saw some growth, but certainly the growth will slow down as time passes.
Daily use trends:
In my eyes, daily use is the most meaningful measure here. Those who are online daily are getting the most out of their Internet use. Once again, you can see that there is a huge gap between Armenia and Georgia with Azerbaijan. I’ve discussed this at length, but one reason for this is the lower percentage of Azerbaijani women online. But there are other reasons too. In the coming weeks I’ll elaborate on this.
For those that wonder if these Azerbaijan numbers are legitimate, I point you to this blog post.
Coming soon with be posts on:
social networking site use
ownership of technology
I’m happy to answer questions!
The Internet is a strange thing. In the early life of the Internet there was a lot of rhetoric about how bad the Internet would be for all sorts of things – relationships, social life, civic engagement, etc. Now we know that 1) the Internet is here to stay and 2) the effects of the Internet aren’t really good or bad, but that affordances of the Internet (or any technology) can impact particular social processes/mechanisms in ways that change outcomes.
This week there is a tremendous effort in Azerbaijan to raise money for a young woman with cancer. The Internet and social media allow for word to spread about the campaign, give information on how to donate, and promote the campaign through photos. Moreover, the social aspect of social media allows people to share the campaign with their friends, show that they are themselves participating (and thus showing everyone – hey! I’m a good person!), and additionally give a little FU to the government medical system that is unable to pay for this young woman’s treatment.
Because of this, as well as my graduate course I’m teaching about pro-social outcomes of technology use, I wanted to test to see the Internet and social media’s influence on particular pro-social outcomes (of civic engagement specifically) in Azerbaijan.
I did some analysis with the 2012 Caucasus Barometer and here is what I found.
Donating to charity (even via SMS) is popular in Azerbaijan with 18% of adults having done it in the last 6 months. Education, economic status, and being male mattered a lot here, but Internet frequency did too! Surprisingly perhaps, being a member of a social networking site had no effect.
Volunteering (without compensation) is complicated in post-Soviet environments, yet it is also fairly popular in Azerbaijan with 22% of adults having volunteered in the psat 6 months. We know that those that do volunteer are younger and better educated. So I tested (binominal regression) the impact of Internet frequency on volunteering, controlling for urbanness, sex, age, economic status, and education. The most important determinant of volunteering was being male (men 1.5 times as likely to volunteer as women), then economic status and education (both were 1.25x as likely to participate if you were higher in these things), but regardless, Internet frequency mattered too, with frequent Internet users being 1.09x as likely to volunteer.
One form of civic engagement (which some may argue is actually a form of protest or dissent) is sending a letter to a newspaper or TV or radio station. We already know that the people that tend to do this are more politically and civically engaged, so I controlled for urbanness, sex, age, economic status, and education. And I found that more frequent Internet users were 1.27 times as likely to sending a letter or call a media station. Social networking site users were 1.2X as likely to do this as well. Importantly though, less than 5% of Azerbaijani adults actually did this!
Cultural capital is often measured by participating in cultural activities. The Internet matters here too. Frequent Internet users were 1.25X as likely to go to the theatre or cinema than less frequent Internet users. But really what mattered here was living in Baku. Bakvuians are 6x as likely to go to these things, unsurprisingly, although regional city dwellers went too. Economic status and education mattered here too. But only 11% have done this in the last 6 months.
So looks like the Internet is a “good” thing in terms of these outcomes in Azerbaijan.
More from the new Alternative Media USAID-CRRC dataset.
Most Armenians are getting online (primarily) from home. (I wish that it had had some sort of ranking or estimate of hours, but it is what it is.)
And how do people get online at home? Cable, 3G flash card, and still dial up (I can do a breakdown by urban/rural if people are interested.)
I’ll do another post about mobile Internet in the future.
Here’s an update to this 2012 post.
Green is of Internet users and blue is for all Armenian adult citizens.
In the near future I’ll do a break down of these activities by region, sex, etc.
In this recent publication of mine, we show that rural, less educated, and poorer Armenians weren’t engaging in capital-enhancing activities like news reading or blogging. Will this still be true in 2013?
Last year I wrote a blog post about triangulating different data sources. I used the example of mobile phone ownership and the ITU, Caucasus Barometer, and Gallup. In that post I said:
“The point I’d like to make is that these statistics are complicated and it is hard to get at the “right” number. That’s why we try to triangulate — look at different sources of data to see if things seem right. We also should always assess the credibility of the source of the data.
ITU is the UN’s official statistics and these numbers come from the governments themselves who usually get the numbers from the telecommunications companies. These companies count number of SIM cards sold and it is not unusual for people to have multiple SIM cards. This is data to be highly skeptical about. For the question about mobile penetration, this isn’t actually percent, it is number of mobile phones per 100 people.
Caucasus Barometer, Gallup, and EBRD are surveys taken face-to-face in households. All use different sampling techniques and are collected by different organizations. None are perfect, but they’re as good as we’ve got. Of the three, I trust Gallup the least.
All of these were collected at different times of the year.
Margin of error varies in all of these.
A ~4-6 point difference is within the margin of error and shouldn’t be looked at with too much suspicion.”
With those same rules applying, here are some results from different sources from Azerbaijan.
For what it is worth, I LOVE having more data. The more data we have measuring similar things, the more sure we can be of the results. 2010 is a great year here because of the 4 data sources (for some questions). But please, reach your own conclusions about what the “correct” percentage is.
A recent RFERL report about social networking site use in rural Azerbaijan got me thinking about doing a blog post about regional differences in Internet activities in the Caucasus. (And whenever we’re talking about Internet and Azerbaijan, gender needs to be looked at as well.)
I have a forthcoming paper in the Journal of Communication that looks at the relative influence of demographics (gender, region, age, education, wealth, English language skill) and device (mobile or PC or both) on Internet activities in Armenia.
Here’s the abstract:
Digital inequality can take many forms. Four studied here are access to Internet, use of different devices, extent of usage, and engagement in different Internet activities. However, it is not clear whether sociodemographic factors, or devices, are more influential in usage and activities. Results from an unfamiliar context show that there are significant sociodemographic influences on access, device, usage and activities, and differences in activities by device type and usage. While sociodemographic differences are more influential, device type can increase likelihood of use for some “capital enhancing” activities, but only for a computer. Thus, although mobile Internet is available for those on the wrong side of the digital divide, these users do not engage in many activities, decreasing potential benefits.
In Armenia, 50% of users are on social networking sites, regardless of region. Skype is much more popular in regional cities and rural areas, and online news is most popular in Yerevan. Notably, 18% of all rural Armenians use social networking sites. 22% of all rural Armenians use Skype.
In Azerbaijan, there is more variance between regions. Over half of all users, regardless of region, are on social networking sites; and the percentages of users of the other activities is fairly consistent between regions. However, there are few rural Azerbaijanis online.
In Georgia, over two-thirds of users, regardless of region, are on social networking sites. Non-Tbilisi Georgians are less likely to read online news. 17% of rural Georgians are on a social networking site.
In terms of gender and activities, there are also some interesting differences.
In Armenia and Georgia there are not many differences between men and women in their Internet activities. But in Azerbaijan, the differences are notable. (More on this here.)
What are the typical Internet users in the Caucasus?
Using factor analysis (a technique where you see what things are related to other things), I’ve created some Caucasus Internet user types. I then used regression to see what demographic characteristics made it more or less likely for someone to be in a particular user type. (All 2012 Caucasus Barometer.)
Armenian Internet user types
Type 1: interactive entertainment
These users engage in a wide variety of activities: forums, blogs, shopping, dating sites, games, download music/videos, IM, skype, SNS
And who are they? They’re online frequently, they’re wealthier, they’re better educated, they’re more urban, they aren’t as proficient in English, and they’re younger.
Type 2: business only
These users engage in email, SNS, not downloading music/video, not news
They’re younger, they’re proficient in English, they’re online frequently, they’re better educated, they’re not as wealthy, they’re more urban, and they’re male.
Type 3: info seekers
These users search for info, news, not games, not SNS
They’re better educated, they’re urban, they’re wealthier, and they have good English.
Type 4: chatters
IM, not skype
They’re rural, they’re male and they’re proficient in English.
Azerbaijani Internet user types
Type 1: interactive entertainment
These users are on blogs, forums, shopping, skype, IM
They’re online more frequently, they’re better educated, they’re more likely to be proficient in English, and they’re not as wealthy.
Type 2: entertainment
download music/videos, online games, dating sites
They’re less educated, they’re less proficient in English, they’re less wealthy, and they’re younger.
Type 3: info seekers
news, search for info, not SNS
They’re older, they’re better educated, they’re not online as frequently.
Georgian Internet user types
Georgian Internet user types:
Type 1: looking for love?
dating sites, skype
They’re wealthier, they’re older, they’re men, and they’re less educated.
Type 2: engaged
blogs, forums, SNS
They’re younger, they’re online frequently, they’re better educated, they’re female, they’re proficient in English.
Type 3: gamers
games, not skype, download music/videos
They’re younger, they’re not online as much, they’re less educated, they’re younger, they have good English.
Type 4: info seekers
search for info, news, not SNS
They’re older, more urban, highly educated, profcieint in English.
Type 5: business only
email, not downloading music/video, not news
They’re highly educated, they’re urban, they’re proficient in English, they’re older.
So what to conclude from this? Well, I’m happy that there are enough users now that I can actually see some differences! But in terms of a takeaway, it gives us a sense of who is online and what they are doing. It is all too easy to assume that “Internet users” are a monolith and that they’re all doing the same things online. This demonstrates that in fact there are differences between users within the Caucasus countries.