What most excites me about Web 2.0 is its ability to connect people, average citizens, across professions, countries, and even language (thanks to Google Translate and other free online software). It’s the freedom and power these tools provide to give voice to those that are traditionally silenced, but also to everyone equally — the only thing you need is an internet connection and the knowledge on how to use these tools and anyone, anywhere can be a journalist, activist, musician/DJ, filmmaker, photographer — you name it.
Though I would argue that this media is not new (“Web 2.0 is a new trend,” it said in this week’s reading), it is powerful and can affect change, perhaps in new and exciting ways. I do believe, however, that one must be cautious: not everything you read is accurate or true and not everyone online is who they say they are. But simply by taking a few precautions this issue can be solved (hopefully, this will be discussed further in the Voice of Our Future program!).
Since it connects people, Web 2.0 brings resources and support to the global women’s empowerment movement. It helps us locate allies and contacts and provides access to information that might not have been available using traditional media. Particularly in communities where certain subjects are off-topic (for example, marital rape or child abuse) or where there isn’t access to information (or it’s restricted) through other — perhaps more official — means such as libraries, schools, and government institutions. I’m sure there are other examples of how Web 2.0 assists and supports the global women’s empowerment movement.
For me, personally, Web 2.0 is already empowering. I blog (when I have a chance) and I update my profile on Facebook and Twitter daily. I submit comments on other people’s blogs and respond to comments on my own. Sometimes it feels like a lot of work (!) and that I’m always in front of the computer, but the feeling of speaking for yourself and the opportunity to connect with others around the globe make it more than worthwhile.
More specifically, however, I’d love to connect with other women on the topic of women’s role in peace building. I live in Armenia, a country that is land-locked and sandwiched between two countries it has animosities with and with which it has closed borders (Turkey and Azerbaijan). I know that it’s possible for Armenian, Azerbaijani and Turkish women to gather and talk about peace. Already such gatherings are taking place. I hope to be able to use Web 2.0 to be able to connect with other women in conflict-ridden countries and learn how to include women’s voices in resolving conflict and building peace.
Take action! This post was submitted in response to Voices of Our Future Application: Empowerment and Web 2.0.