In a landmark event exemplifying the success of social networking and new media in reaching those living under government censorship, RFE/RL’s Iran Service, Radio Farda,
reached a milestone last week: surpassing 100,000 fans on Facebook
In an interview with RFE/RL’s Communications team, Radio Farda web editor Fred Petrossians discussed Facebook’s effectiveness in providing an alternative source of information for those without access to impartial television or newspaper outlets. Said Petrossians, “Social media is a tremendous asset for an organization like ours. Promoting our content through these websites can help target new audiences and get people sharing the content they like with others on the web.”
Indeed, following the events of the Arab Spring, social media is more relevant than ever. Facebook is the new town hall, and forwarding content has become the post-modern equivalent of Paul Revere’s ride.
“The beauty of Facebook,” says Petrossian, “is that people can make our content their own in a sense, and send it to their friends very easily. Facebook is an information highway.”
Radio Farda maintains one of the most popular Iranian Facebook pages. The social networking website’s popularity, according to Petrossians, has allowed Radio Farda listeners to become more involved in the news process.
To be sure, the interactive elements that Facebook provides have become an essential part of Radio Farda’s success, which has continued to grow - somewhat to the surprise of Radio Farda itself - even after the election controversy and ensuing protests of 2009.
In an effort to bolster both Radio Farda’s growing popularity and interactivity, a new project is about to launch that will enable a more human touch. Explains Petrossians, “we are starting a new section where Radio Farda employees and staff will be able to interact directly with our users, answering questions and interfacing directly with readers. Not only about specific news stories, but about the best ways to share useful information and have their voices heard.”
Congratulations to Radio Farda!