The Digital Diaspora Theory & HyeConnect: the idea behind creation


As the modern world moves towards globalization and digitalization it is hard to imagine a specter of it that can be left behind. From science to economics and arts, every field of activity is now focused on communication, sharing ideas and networking. This is often accomplished by the mediums which the World Wide Web has provided us with. No working and thriving environment can operate without this digital communication that we have so quickly become accustomed to. In many of these environments and communities the emphasis is strictly on teamwork and collaboration. On an individual and corporate level this instantaneous manner of communication has proven to be the most effective. To imitate this model of efficiency for a national benefit it is crucial to have a powerful communication and collaboration system.

The strength of a functional unit comes from networking, understanding the people involved in that network and strengthening the connections between them to reach maximum potential. In a networked world power flows from the ability to make the maximum number of valuable connections. "The issue is no longer relative power but centrality in a dense global web," says CEO of The Networking University in Dublin, Ireland Kingsley Aikins (2011). These valuable connections bloom in an environment which shares similar values and has a common goal. If we look at it from a national perspective, it becomes clear that to make most of the power of communication and use it in our advantage, a nation would require a strong network of valuable connections functioning homogeneously in order to reach a certain common outcome.

A question arises: What does this have to do with us Armenians and our goals as a nation? The Armenian diaspora is outstanding in terms of its collaborative and networking potential. Armenians all around the world have been able to create tight communities because of this potential. We have seen multiple examples of this throughout the Armenian History. The issue is that these Armenian communities are strongly networked within themselves, but this network doesn’t extend to the homeland and rarely does it extend to Armenian communities in other countries.

Fortunately the interconnectedness of the world in the face of globalization and digitalization, the big communicative potential of Armenian diasporic communities all over the world and the strong desire to build a functional and networked system for all Armenians provide us with the excellent opportunity to create something substantial: a collaboration network specifically designed for all Armenians and friends of Armenia, those who wish to contribute to the advancement and the benefit of our nation through the digital world. And HyeConnect is created for this exact purpose.

This phenomenon of creating networks within diasporic communities through the use of digital technologies is not a new one. In Diaspora Studies this relatively new concept is known as a “digital diaspora”. There is no one textbook definition of what a digital diaspora is. The general consensus claims that a digital diaspora is loosely defined as a cyber community or online network that is created to connect people of the same heritage using the web. Although not having a distinct definition the power and the influence that a digital diaspora can have are not to be underestimated. Aikins in his book “Global diaspora strategies toolkit” talks about the mobilization of communities saying that this “can be an immense force for good in terms of delivering material and moral support to their homes and increasing mutual understanding.” (2011)

The values, mission, and vision of HyeConnect align with these ideas perfectly. HyeConnect’s vision is to provide a pan-Armenian digital platform that connects Armenians around the world to create virtual communities of interest and forums based on any variety of issues. This is basically the Armenian nation online. And HyeConnect’s mission is to connect Armenians around the globe through a virtual environment for leveraging their talents, skills, and capabilities to serve the empowerment of Armenians and Armenia.

Not only is the HyeConnect platform a strong networking and collaboration tool, but it presents itself as the medium for the first ever Armenian digital diaspora. The toolkits that the platform provides focus on the networks that can be created through the platform. It is a metaspace for online collaboration. Here are the five main HyeConnect Activities: Community, Project, Discussion, Event and Questionnaire. Besides these main tools HyeConnect provides a myriad of features for interpersonal and in-Community interactions, strengthening the infrastructures of the platform and hence the connections within the individuals, the communities, and the diasporas.

HyeConnect is set out to be something revolutionary, something that the Armenian nation has never had before. This is a result-oriented professional collaborative network that has the potential to create a tight-knit community of Armenians, contribute to the advancement of the professional fields in which Armenians operate and at last strengthen and empower our nation.

by Roza Chibukhchyan - Public Relations specialist, HyeConnect 

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