Farsi Tube or Iranian You Tube, launched in the US at the end of last year, attracts 3,000 visitors daily, says its co-founder Sherwin Noorian. On a busy day, the figure could leap to 7,000 visitors who are there to catch the latest videos Persian-speakers are posting on the site.
In addition to Farsi Tube, the founders are now planning to launch a forum and blog to create a social network rather than an entertainment place for speakers of Farsi. Noorian, one of co-founders of Farsi Tube, has given us the following interview:
Q- May you introduce yourself and Farsitube (FT)?
A- I'm Sherwin Noorian, a student in Texas, US. Two of my friends and I, started FarsiTube.com. FarsiTube is a video sharing community targeted towards Iranians, and has all kinds of videos about Iran and Iranian culture. The site has music videos, funny clips, political videos, entertainment videos, satirical clips, full length movies, and more. Anyone can post a video on FarsiTube, and people can comment, share, and bookmark videos.
Q-What is the added value of FT for the Iranian or non Iranian community?
A- We feel that FarsiTube brings tremendous value to the Iranian community. It's a place where they can go and easily browse hundreds of videos and immerse themselves in Iranian culture. In a time where the gap between Iranians living in Iran, and those who live in Europe or North America grows wider, FarsiTube attracts Iranians from all over the world. They can feel connected to what is going on in Iran politically, or they can simply be entertained. Also, they can check out videos made by FarsiTube users and share them with their friends. The site creates a sense of community and identity.
Q-Are you planning to launch a forum and/or blog on your site? If yes, what for?
A- We used to have a forum, however, it's temporarily been removed until we re-design it. The forum will be for any kinds of discussion.
Q-What are the video clips that are not welcome on your site?
A- This has been a tricky issue for us lately. We had some people who come from certain political groups try to upload a large amount of videos that were more or less propaganda for their believes. We decided not to keep the videos on our site. The reason being is that we don't want FarsiTube to be a place to post propaganda from either side. Rather, we'd like a place where you can learn about Iran, Iranian culture, and what's going on in Iran, and decide for yourself instead of being bombarded with hardliners from either side. We don't want to make the site too politically charged. We also try to keep the videos related to Iranian interests, instead of just becoming another YouTube. For these reasons, video uploading is moderated.
Q- As an American-Iranian, do you think FT can play a role as a cultural bridge between the two communities?
A- Yes, in fact, this is one of the main things I've experienced on FarsiTube. I've realized that children of Iranians who are born in Iran, like myself, are increasingly different from those youth living in Iran. At the same time, they obviously have much in common. I think FarsiTube can show both communities to each other and help them feel more connected to each other. We still have a long way to grow in this regard, especially through new features such as a video blogging service that we plan to add in the future.
Q- Are you following Iranian blogs?
A- I have been following some Iranian blogs and forums discussing FarsiTube, and it's mostly a positive reception. We've been linked on dozens of Iranian sites.