According to the latest data, abut 125 thousand people in Armenia are registered in Facebook networks. If we assume that more than 3mln people really live in our country, and about half of that figure represents children and elderly people, we get that each tenth of the active age citizens is a part of that huge network. At that, the number increases every day. According to the statistics, the number increases by about 5 thousand new users each month only from Armenia. The structure of Facebook provides that it, to put it mildly, is not “Odnoklassniki”, where one communicates with friends, relatives or classmates. The website is constructed in a way that, whether you want it or not, you are informed on news, share with your friends, you follow statuses and comments of people you know and strangers, and involuntarily you are involved in debate. The above-mentioned social network possesses a huge resource of influence. Washington already knows about this for a long time. Egypt and Tunisia learnt about it recently. And Armenia is realizing it now.
Recently I have been coming across debates in various blogs and Facebook itself. The topic of the debates is whether social networks and blogs can really gather a critical mass of complaining people, which will lead to a fact that the events will develop according to the Egypt scenario. A part of the debaters obviously overestimates the capacities of social networks, blogs and internet in general, another part does not consider them serious. Time will show who is right. However I would like to address two other issues.
The first one is the extremity of the political views in the net, the supremacy of hatred, especially when it comes to politics.
The second one is that in the net, just like in the media, there are no ethical, no dialogue standards, and no ability to hear each other. This became especially obvious during the recent days from the public “haggle” of Raffi Hovhannisyan’s and Levon Ter-Petrosian’s supporters, which very quickly grew into a conflict.
Another thing causes concern: just like on the threshold of 2008 elections, there is polarization of the society, separation of people “with us” and “our enemies”, escalation of negative energy, which will sooner or later find its way out. I should also note that the social networks, blogs, many websites now fail to develop a social dialogue. Even the opposite; they become a platform for reciprocal mockery.
Today, three years after those tragic events, when the country was really on the edge of a civil war, I am living though a kind of a déjà vu. It seems that I have lived through this at least once in the past. So, haven’t the authorities and the opposition learnt their lessons from what happened then? Should one abundantly feed the dragon of hatred, which may swallow its feeder later on?
They say the history repeats itself, and the second time as a farce. I am sure that this type of farce can cost too high for our country.
David Alaverdian is the Chief Editor of Mediamax.