I spent final week within the Armenian capital of Yerevan, which performed host to this yr’s World Congress On Information Technology (WCIT). The celebrated occasion brings collectively authorities businesses, IT corporations, lobbying teams, buyers, and startups as they focus on the newest developments in data and communications tech. And this yr, 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 initiatives to learn the nation and its individuals. That features the nation’s inhabitants of three million, in addition to its international diaspora of a whopping seven million individuals.
🇦🇲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 the moment nonetheless a piece in progress, which is why I don’t have any screenshots to indicate 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 trade, Hakob Arshakyan — take into consideration for the community whereas it’s being constructed.
Why does a rustic want its personal social community? Talking to TNW, Serj Tankian defined that the thought makes a variety of sense now that the Armenian diaspora is eager to attach with its homeland, following the country’s own Velvet Revolution in 2018:
The concept of getting some sort of digital platform to attach Armenians got here up years in the past. When it got here up through the rule of the earlier regime, it was a method 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 believe is extra inclusive and extra highly effective. That is one thing we as Armenians desperately want. We’ve obtained such numerous Armenian communities all over the world doing superb issues.
For instance, I’m actually dialed into the Armenian actuality, however I do not know what’s going with the group in Marseilles. I do know simply a few individuals there. Now if I’m growing a music challenge there, and I would like a French-Armenian rapper, there’s no method 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 trade, is simply 34 and has been on this new ministry and place for only a yr, however is already enjoying 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 concept for HyeConnect, because it’s being developed now, got here up proper after the revolution final yr. Following the revolution and the ushering in of a progressive new authorities, each Armenian inside our borders and all over the world is feeling linked 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 be certain that to maintain an open thoughts about how this could 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 method 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 phases, 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 received’t be gamed by publishers and advertisers striving to draw customers’ consideration.
In contrast to many different international locations, the individuals 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 aim is to attach everybody, utilizing their pursuits, to type incubative platforms, focus teams, symposiums,” mentioned Tankian. “The quantity of constructive issues that come out of this will likely be superb.”