ArmeniaNow.com | 01.02.11 | 14:03 --The number of Armenian users of the Facebook social network has increased by 20,000 since November, totaling 120,000, and according to Information Technology specialist and blogger Artur Papyan, has doubled in the past six months.
The blogger believes that the rapid growth in the number of Armenian users of Facebook, which creates an atmosphere and trends in the worldwide web, is a positive phenomenon.
“Facebook is a unique platform, which gives an opportunity not only to communicate and to be informed, but also to be involved in civic activeness, and even to do business, getting real income, and do it in a country which is, to put it mildly, not the center of the world,” he says.
Expert in information security and blogger Samvel Martirosyan believes that the growth in the number of Facebook users in Armenia is determined by several factors.
“First, Facebook is very popular and fashionable worldwide, and people are eager to be in tune with fashion. Besides, there is a certain number of users, after reaching which a chain reaction starts (to the social network), which now we witness in this case,” Martirosyan says.
He also connects the number of Armenian Facebook users with the civic activeness of citizens of Armenia.
“Facebook has become a tool of social and civil activism, as well as a source of fresh information for a great number of people. And which is the most important – many show business stars and people involved in politics are registered here, bringing crowds of people to Facebook with them,” he adds.
Papyan, however, says that the rapid growth in the number of Armenian users of Facebook may also have negative consequences. He says that while people may benefit from Facebook in terms of communicating and sharing information, realizing their human and civic activism, and even doing business, posting too much personal information there may get them into trouble.
“A technically literate thief can see that you, for example, live alone in your house, and are planning to go to a discotheque with your friends on a Monday evening, and there will be no one at your house…” Papyan explains.
According to official data, the number of Internet users also increased in Armenia during the recent year.
Samvel Arabajyan, member of the Public Service Regulatory Commission (PSRC), says that as of October last year the number of broadband Internet users (the number of Internet subscribers), as compared to early 2010, doubled, exceeding 160,000.
Arabajyan says that if one counts the GPRS (mobile Internet) subscribers, the number of Internet users reaches 1.5 million in Armenia.
Meanwhile, according to the data on Internet penetration in about 233 countries and in the region, published by World Stats Organization last year, in June 2010, the total number of Internet users in Armenia was 208,200 (this number refers to Internet subscribers and totals seven percent of Armenia’s population).
According to Internet World Stats’ calculations, in 2000-2010, a 594 percent growth in the number of Internet subscribers was registered in Armenia.
Recently a migration to Facebook started among the users of Russia-based www.odnoklassniki.ru which is considered to be the most popular social network in Armenia (according to the company, there are 800,000 Armenia-based users registered in www.odnoklassniki.ru).
Sona Khachaturyan has been registered in Facebook for two years; however, she has started using it more actively within the recent months. She believes that Facebook is more neutral than Odnoklassniki, even though some of Sona’s friends are still registered here.
“Here in Facebook it is much better, its level [reputation] is higher. Here you do not pay attention to who ‘visited’ you, what he/she looked for, what he/she commented. Facebook has many interesting applications. I am more interested in communicating with foreigners in English. Communication is freer here, and people do not invite you to meet after the second phrase you exchange,” Khachaturyan says.
Zara Ghazaryan may be considered to be one of the first Armenians registered in Facebook, she has been a Facebook user since 2006.
“Most of my friends live abroad, and this is the most accessible and faster, as well as more interesting means of communicating with them. Besides, Facebook is an interesting platform, where all the topics you are interested in are concentrated in a common group, and one may use them easily,” Ghazaryan says.
Facebook is the world’s biggest and rapidly growing social network, which has more than 600 million users. Armenia is the 124th among 213 countries registered on Facebook in terms of its number of users.
PS: Despite certain factual mistakes, a pretty good article overall. But, Odnoklassniki had 800 thousand ACTIVE users from Armenia in tha last quarter. The number of REGISTERED users exceeds 2 milion. There are other little bits and pieces, but never mind.