*picture - © PanARMENIAN Photo / Tigran Melkonyan
This is an incredible picture. The ‘Facebook flag’ was seen waving at Armenia opposition rally. A sign of how Facebook (or Internet, in its broader social context) became a symbol of alternative reality for many in Armenia (and Diaspora). A medium where discussions are held, news are exchanged, actions are initiated and coordinated. A reality facilitated by the lack of independent free TV in Armenia, as well as alternative voices breaking through the limits and barriers of ‘formal’ media via blogs or similar platforms. This, in turn, boosted the development of online media, including traditional media outlets’ increasing online presence, and more prominently on Facebook. A virtual country attached to the offline one, with increasing presence of politicians and activists of various levels and interests, with possibilities to influence and being influenced.
We may love or hate Facebook, but with its increasing influence on political and social life in Armenia, the factor of ‘Armenian Republic of Facebook’ or ‘Facebook Republic of Armenia’ is difficult to impossible to ignore.