Wednesday, 26 October 2011

The Azeri guide to using Facebook

I am so excited for my Azeri countrymen, especially those who have money.

I just realized that their lives have been enriched dramatically with Facebook. 

But, clearly, some of the rich and powerful Azeris quickly discovered that, besides all the obvious ways, such a sharing news and photos and keeping in touch, Facebook can be utilized as a perfect, lethal weapon to spread envy and jealousy amongst everyone they vaguely know, by showing off just how rich they are. Or, more probably, just how rich they want all those 1,000 friends to think they are. 

Recently I witnessed a few discussions on Facebook which made me realize just how useful the whole social network tool is for those who like to show off a little. Of course, I am not talking about my friends. The joy of Facebook is that every time someone who is my friend comments on their friend’s photo or news, it shows up for the rest of us to see.

So, with slight changes added to avoid personal insults, which I, of course, would not want to make too obvious for the sake of people I know and like, here is one extract from a spot- the-Nouveau riche- Azeri discussion:

She puts a photo of herself in a pretty dress at some event.  Someone compliments her.

‘Oh, sis,’ she replies, ‘thank you! You can’t go wrong with Versace!

Nicely done. To someone maybe even subtly. The meaning of the word is not easily translated into different cultures.

Another very good example was two girls, both originally from Baku, discussing things that, at first glance, were perfectly innocent.

Ha, says one girl, check this crazy car out! Who would want to spend so much money on a Range Rover in this colour? 

Her friend comes into the conversation. 

- Why, honey, what colour is yours?
 -Black, of course! What about yours?
- Mine’s white, honey!

OK, we all know they have expensive cars. Good for them. But you see, without Facebook, only people who live near them would know about their cars. This way, thanks to Facebook, people all around the world know about them, too. Isn’t that cool? Instead of 10 neighbours in Baku, hundreds of people abroad can be impressed by their cars, too!

But the best conversation I witnessed recently was two girls discussing their plans to meet up at a very short notice in New York. A friend of mine was excited as she clearly has not seen them both for a while, and was getting ready to have a drink or two when they arrive. Look, she told me, how free and rich they are! They can just jump on planes and meet in NY, in one of the most expensive hotels in the city?! Honestly, she said, isn't it amazing? I looked at the discussion thread. It went on for a while. Which hotel and what restaurants the girls were planning to eat at, were publicly discussed. My first question was why would two friends, knowing each other’s email addresses, and telephone numbers, have a long and detailed discussion of their planned weekend extravaganza in front of everyone else? 

OK, maybe email is too old-fashioned for them. But there is an option of  private messaging on Facebook, too. Of course, when my friend in NY got stood up because nobody actually arrived, it all got perfectly clear. Told you, I said to my friend, they were not really planning to fly to NY for a weekend, each from a different country far away, just to meet up for a posh dinner. But now everyone on Facebook thinks they were.

What was, in theory, designed to share news is now a tool to share the signs of wealth. Designer dresses, expensive cars, hotel destinations...all you need to do is tag your location and everyone will know you ate at the world-famous restaurant, or had a luxury holiday. Quick, easy and effective way to make all those virtual friends jealous. Perfect for Azeris and everyone else who loves to let everyone know just how well they are doing. Even if it is all just on the surface.


  1. I know of 2 sisters who have similar public discussions constantly. Both living in the same city.Originally from Russia. Even sharing details of their parents' escapades to expensive restaurants.All of this on top of both having BBMs, so the motives are ever so transparent...

  2. How do they manage to balance the eternal Azeri fear of being jinxed with a penchant for showing off? (It's a rhetorical question.)

  3. I'm guilty on all counts. I made plans with friends on my page (they started it!), shared dresses, vacations and other stuff. I'm not Nouveau-anything though. LOL :)

  4. The reality you depict herr is very sad: people using what's supposed to be a network to stay in touch as a network to show off how good is life with you... even if it's a huge lie.
    When I read posts like this one, I congratulate myself (once again!) for not being part of this new trend. Although I respect people thinking otherwise.

  5. Wow, you need some new Facebook friends. I was just commenting on this the other day to a friend. I ran into him in London while I was buying a new Armani suit and restocking my wine cellar (can't buy too much at once, it won't fit in the boot of the Porsche). Anyway, we got talking and decided to go to the Savoy for lunch and a catch up and, well, the rest is irrelevant. ;)