Go Viral Ashgabat – 2022


Ashgabat Takes Up the Baton of the Regional Go Viral Festival for the First Time

A bright outburst of positive emotions and a powerful stimulus for self-development has been caused by the first in Turkmenistan Go Viral Festival that brought together almost 140 enthusiasts and experts in media, culture and technologies.

The event in Ashgabat has been the continuation of a series of regional festivals that have already been held in other cities of Central Asia – Dushanbe, Tashkent, Bishkek and Almaty.

This is the first experience of holding the Go Viral festival for Turkmenistan; therefore, it has been of special importance for a local community that felt it belonged to a larger group of like-minded people for the first time.

The Go Viral festival and a range of events with the same name were first carried out in Kazakhstan in 2017 with the support of the Department of State of the United States. Inspired by the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, the Go Viral Festival has become increasingly popular in Central Asia and is held today in all regional countries.

Now the Go Viral community contains over 5.5 thousand people, including creative workers, entrepreneurs, journalists, public activists and professionals from various fields. They are all united by the aim to share ideas and experiences, inspire and energise each other for pursuing ambitious goals and implementation of new projects.

The Go Viral community in Turkmenistan became active February this year and finally turned into the annual festival,” Batyr Berdyev, ambassador of Go Viral Turkmenistan, said at the opening ceremony. “After we announced registration for the festival, we thought a lot if we can attract enough people, if we can stir their interest. But we soon became witnesses to great response from the media, from creative workers. After this experience, I believe we can hold even larger-scale festival next year.

Matthew S. Klimow, the United States Ambassador to Turkmenistan, was a special guest at the opening ceremony. In his welcoming speech, he said to participants:

As you know, we like innovations, new ideas and concepts in America so much. They are always supported and given opportunity for development. This is how the Silicon Valley emerged, which has become home to such world famous companies as Google (Alphabet), Amazon, and others. We can hardly imagine our daily lives without these brands today. And the economy of the United States is based on such companies, their innovations, and ideas. And I believe that today’s event will blow the passion to innovative ideas implementation in your heart like fire. And if you realise these ideas, you won’t have difficulties in implementing them.

One of the key advantages of Go Viral is the possibility of networking. The festival helps people find like-minded persons, create teams, start joint projects, as well as simply share interesting ideas, get useful advices and instructions.

The first Go Viral festival in Turkmenistan has really unified the community of professionals and enthusiasts in the country, and gave them an opportunity to see each other in person, and talk in informal and comfortable environment.

To make it easier for people to meet each other, a networking wall – a board where anyone could leave their business cards and personal information – was installed near the registration board. The boards were divided into four parts for those who was looking for:

  • A job or a place for traineeship,
  • Tutor,
  • Employee,
  • People for the team to implement the idea.

By the middle of the event, the networking wall was all filled with cards with names and contact persons, as well as personal and work business cards.

The main festival sessions were held as panel discussions, presentations and master classes, with a lot of interactive activities, and every participant could ask questions.

Panel discussions made the exchange of ideas and experience the most effective because not only invited speakers, but also all visitors could share their thoughts at such sessions. The impromptu speeches opened a space for discussion of various topics in an informal setting that spurred people into openness and self-expression.

Experienced copywriter Tatiana Postnova, entrepreneur and founder of numerous media projects Anna Sultanova, and illustrator Shirin Bermyradova shared their personal experiences, ways to popularise content, and said how to improve social media accounts to attract followers and potential clients at the panel discussion dedicated to content creation tendencies in Turkmenistan. Brand manager and communications speciliast Bibi Atamyradova was the moderator of the session.

During presentations and master classes, participants of the festival had a chance to learn something new from experienced and popular professionals in the sphere of media and technology. They were pleased to share their personal success stories, life hacks and even schematic plans of work.

The master class of experienced videographer Aman Bairamov, co-founder of  video production company Xenon Studio, revealed some secrets of professional mobile video filming for beginner and experienced operators.

The panel discussion with participation of iOS developer in Verifone Oraz Atakishev, programmer engineer and Launch Life Coding project coordinator Merdzhen Saparmuradova, as well as founder and owner of Geek Space Turkmenistan Maksat Astankulov helped festival participants to discuss important trends in information technologies in Turkmenistan.

To inspire people to share their thoughts, ask questions and discuss ideas, organisers distributed small souvenirs with Go Viral symbols among the most active participants. However, it was just a pleasant bonus because many questions were asked during discussions at all events. Virtually all participants of sessions were involved and disposed to communication.

Master classes and presentations dedicated to electronic commerce, building an efficient teamwork in video production and promotion of work with digital tools were carried out by Azat Seitmukhamedov, founder and general director of trading platform Wabrum.com, representatives of video advertisement production for national TV and radio channels of Turkmenistan ‘Yoda Makhabat’, as well as graphic designer and illustrator, founder and administrator of public account Hi Ashgabat, Aleksandra Erkaeva.

During sessions, participants and speakers focused much on the impact of social media on professional development and career progress. Such platforms as Instragram and IMO in Turkmenistan gave a chance to specialists to better prove themselves in the labour market. Employers tend to pay attention to vivid accounts and hire employees by assessing their activity in social media. Running a personal blog is almost a must-do for people of creative professions.

The result of popularity of social media and internet is the increasing number of cases of copyright infringement. In Turkmenistan, this issue is also relevant and many companies, brands and common owners of accounts on Instagram and TikTok, who monetise their content, face the need to protect their copyrights on the internet.

Many participants of the festival were interested in job search and working as freelancers. Dozens of entrepreneurs came to help them and offered them interesting jobs, and experienced freelancers offered their advice on attracting first clients.

Another issue that raised special interest of the audience was creation and promotion of proprietary product in Turkmenistan. Participants actively discussed the role of personal brand, importance of customer-oriented approach, emphasised the need for creating stories behind the products.

A good tradition helped participants of the festival feel their involvement in this large-scale regional community – they all had a chance to make stitches on behalf of the country on the chapan, the symbol of friendship between the Go Viral members. The fabric that would be embroidered by all those who feels like it at the event would be sent to Almaty to become a part of the symbol.