I spent final week within the Armenian capital of Yerevan, which performed host to this 12 months’s World Congress On Information Technology (WCIT). The distinguished occasion brings collectively authorities businesses, IT corporations, lobbying teams, buyers, and startups as they focus on the most recent developments in info and communications tech. And this 12 months, it additionally noticed the announcement of a brand new social community — HyeConnect.
Derived from Hayastan, the Armenian identify for the nation, HyeConnect was described at a press convention as a platform to attach all Armenians across the globe, as they search to construct partnerships, launch new companies, and collaborate on tasks to learn the nation and its folks. That features the nation’s inhabitants of three million, in addition to its world diaspora of a whopping seven million folks.
🇦🇲Ազդարարվեց “Hye Join” և “Armenian Digital Bridge” Ծրագրերի մեկնարկը։—Kick-start of the “Hye Join” and the “Armenian Digital Bridge” Applications.
Posted by Hakob Arshakyan on Saturday, October 12, 2019
HyeConnect is at present nonetheless a piece in progress, which is why I don’t have any screenshots to point out you. Nevertheless, I can inform you what a few of its chief proponents — Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, musician and activist Serj Tankian (who you would possibly know from legendary rock band System of a Down), and Armenia’s minister of high-tech business, Hakob Arshakyan — bear in mind for the community whereas it’s being constructed.
Why does a rustic want its personal social community? Chatting with TNW, Serj Tankian defined that the concept makes lots of sense now that the Armenian diaspora is eager to attach with its homeland, following the country’s own Velvet Revolution in 2018:
The thought of getting some kind of digital platform to attach Armenians got here up years in the past. When it got here up in the course of the rule of the earlier regime, it was a manner of connecting the diaspora to one another, so it will possibly higher cope with the continued actuality in Armenia.
However after the revolution, the idea advanced from being a diaspora connection factor to a pan-Armenian connection factor, which I feel is extra inclusive and extra highly effective. That is one thing we as Armenians desperately want. We’ve obtained such various Armenian communities around the globe doing superb issues.
For instance, I’m actually dialed into the Armenian actuality, however I don’t know what’s going with the neighborhood in Marseilles. I do know simply a few folks there. Now if I’m creating a music venture there, and I would like a French-Armenian rapper, there’s no manner I can discover somebody like that simply on, say, Fb. You’d want a whole group for that search.
Hakob Arshakyan, the nation’s minister for high-tech business, is barely 34 and has been on this new ministry and place for only a 12 months, however is already taking part in a serious function in constructing out the nation’s tech and startup scene. In an interview with TNW, he defined that the timing couldn’t be higher:
The thought for HyeConnect, because it’s being developed now, got here up proper after the revolution final 12 months. Following the revolution and the ushering in of a progressive new authorities, each Armenian inside our borders and around the globe is feeling related to the nation and to their fellow countrymen.
Arshakyan famous that this sort of a platform is virtually a startup thought, and must develop and evolve over time:
We’ll ensure that to maintain an open thoughts about how this will evolve. As we use it and see what works and what doesn’t, we’ll make the mandatory adjustments to adapt the platform to go well with its customers.
The sentiment was echoed by Alexis Ohanian, who co-founded Reddit manner again in 2005 and is aware of a factor or two about constructing social networks. I requested him about how the group behind HyeConnect deliberate to keep away from the issues of extreme noise and unsolicited messages that plague different platforms.
Ohanian famous that whereas it’s nonetheless within the early levels, HyeConnect will draw from learnings gathered from different networks to advertise significant connections and conversations. Plus, it’ll be a non-profit enterprise. Hopefully, meaning it gained’t be gamed by publishers and advertisers striving to draw customers’ consideration.
Not like many different international locations, the folks of Armenia have loads of good causes to really feel united proper now: a younger new authorities, a revitalized inhabitants, and a nationwide curiosity in advancing Armenia’s pursuits and capabilities.
“The objective is to attach everybody, utilizing their pursuits, to type incubative platforms, focus teams, symposiums,” mentioned Tankian. “The quantity of optimistic issues that come out of this shall be superb.”