“Knock on wood!” in digital   
13 March 2017 Share

“Knock on wood!” in digital  

That saying commonly associated with the evil eye is now in digital platforms.  Social media users in Turkey have used hashtags almost two million times in the last few months to keep away the e-evil eye. According to the research conducted on the mobile photo-sharing application Instagram, “maşallah” (a phrase against the evil eye in Turkish culture) is the most used hashtag with a number of 1 million 500 thousand tagging. Children are at the top of the list of things people are most worried that the evil eye might curse.

   People keep their cultural rituals of the society in a virtual environment, according to the research carried out on Instagram by Asst. Prof. Ayda Sabuncuoğlu, Yaşar University Department of Public Relations and Advertising.    Stating that people are trying to get likes from other people around them by “portraying enviable lives” on their social media profiles while also worrying about the evil eye, Asst. Prof. Ayda Sabuncuoğlu said, “The basic idea behind social media is that people display their lives to each other. People present the enviable versions of their lives in their posts on social media. They post pictures of a meal they have cooked, a vacation they go on once a year, the hotel where they stay, sports they do or the happiest moments they enjoy with their loved ones. Therefore, people are passing their lives through a filter and display the attractive versions of their lives to others, and thereby creating a paradox. While they are posting on social media to get likes from others, on the other hand, they get worried because of the socially imposed cultural concepts. After posting such pictures to make their followers jealous, they are frightened by the evil eye and start to take some precautions taught by society, which is to use some hashtags to keep away the negative effects which they think might result from the evil eye.”



    “Some people for whom fear of the evil eye has become intense may even delete their accounts. People may deactivate their social media accounts just because they are worried about losing something they have in their lives because of the evil eye, or even delete their accounts,” said Asst. Prof. Ayda Sabuncuoğlu, expressing that some users may even close their accounts.  The research also shows the thing people fear most is that their children might be affected by the evil eye. Among other subjects which make social media users anxious about the evil eye are family, spouses, significant others, close friends, places visited, pets, food and cars.

Here are some of the hashtags used against the evil eye in numbers:

Hashtag:                                              Use count:

#maşallah (#masallah)                        1.5 million

#maşallahbize                                       52 thousand

#maşallahsana                                     19 thousand

#allahnazarlardankorusun                 10 thousand

#masallahdemeyiunutmayın               4 thousand