GEO

The Caucasus, social media and Facebook

14 April, 2010

Over the weekend TI Georgia had the opportunity to discuss issues surrounding online social media tools with the doers and shakers of the South Caucasus, including bloggers, developers and activists from Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. In just two days, six groups strove to turn ideas ranging from monitoring public officials to sexual health to the environment into working websites. Not mock-ups, but real, functioning websites. And they succeeded. At the same time, just next door, speakers from a much larger global community of social media users and developers shared their tools and experiences with students, NGO representatives, bloggers and any and all would-be online mediaphiles in the region. The Social Innovation Camp Caucasus is one example of a growing number of events that reflect the use of new technologies to engage society in the South Caucasus. Georgia has an ever growing number of socially and politically aware bloggers, as evident on such sites as Blogroll.ge. Facebook use is increasing at a rapid pace and soon will eclipse that of the previously ubiquitous Odnoklassniki.ru. Although during the conference it became clear that Facebook, well used as it is, was not able to provide statistics because it had not implemented its ad scheme in the South Caucasus. Many presenters at the Social Innovation Camp Caucasus strove to present numbers highlighting the growth of these new social media tools, however when it came to Facebook there was a lot of inference and little fact. This need no longer be the case. On Monday, after checking TI Georgia's own Facebook statistics, I decided to check the ads just in case. While not necessarily intuitive, by going to www.facebook.com/ads and beginning to fill out an ad, you can get a glimpse of some of the statistics for Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Below are just a few gleaned from Facebook Ads. These numbers reflect all age groups. Number of Facebook users according to FB Ads

Country Men & Women Men Women
Georgia 340,800 147,680 192,980
Azerbaijan 139,660 84,760 51,300
Armenia 49,900 22,220 26,820

Note: Facebook Ads uses IP address and a user's profile information to determine location. As is evident, there are more Georgian FB users, more than double that of Azerbaijan, whose own users are almost triple that of Armenia. Georgia has more female users than male, while Azerbaijan has more male users than female. Armenia has almost equal numbers of male and female users. While not completely accurate (the numbers change a little each time you look, but not by a lot), you can at least get a better understanding of how large the FB market is in the South Caucasus and some idea of who is using FB by country. I encourage users to play around with the choices and share your findings!