06 Aug

Ten thousand signatures felt like ten thousand hands, they carry me

An online petition has been recently been circulating through Azerbaijani Internet circles asking people to support freeing youth activists who have been arrested in 2013, in light of the October 2013 presidential election.

As of early August, 2000 people have signed. (The hashtag suggests they need 10,000 signatures.)

I’m pretty meh about online petitions, although I have recently changed my tuned, as they do provide evidence for “citizen support” in Azerbaijan where public opinion is difficult to ascertain.

Regardless, I’ve done a hashtag analysis of the efforts on Twitter.

Only July 31 when the campaign began, this was the hashtag map.


Popular Azerbaijani Internet personalities Habib Muntezir and Bakhtiyar Hajiyev each have their own clusters of followers and retweeters. The youth organization N!DA (from whom many of the detained activists come) and its leadership make up the largest cluster though.

I did another analysis on August 5 and things look a little different.


Now those key users (Muntezir, Hajiyev, and the official Twitter account of N!DA) from the first analysis are all in cluster 1 together. Cluster 2 includes the leadership of N!DA, separate from the official N!DA account. My guess is that those individuals associated with N!DA are communicating with each other, perhaps about other things, more frequently than they are with the rest of the network, so they have become clustered together.

I don’t entirely understand clusters 3 and 4. Cluster 3 includes some foreigners who tweet about Azerbaijan (including myself). Suggestions on this are welcome.

In my estimation, a lot more of the discussion of this issues takes place on Facebook rather than Twitter. However, analysis of Facebook hashtags is slow in coming.