I can speak to my father in the Czech Republic, my mother in California, my cousins in India and my friends in Germany from almost anywhere. The distances that once made me nervous to receive a call in the middle of the night, for fear of the bad news that came along with it, in many cases, do not seem as vast as they used to be. Web 2.0 is exciting because it connects people so rapidly. As evidenced by the Arab Spring, as well as the Iran protests of 2009, social media and Web 2.0 play a role, even if these roles may be exaggerated or overstated.
The increased ease in communication should lead to action, just as education if carried out correctly, should be applicable to life in general. Web 2.0 brings a myriad of solutions to the global women’s empowerment movement, so many ideas, that in some cases, it may be hard to cut though the many solutions that are being proposed. One of the greatest tools is the ability to learn from and support one another. Through sites such as WorldPulse as well as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn women around the world are able to network, and interact with one another. One thing we must keep in mind, as we think positively about the future and the change we have the power to bring, is who is left out? And why? What of the women who do not have access to the internet, computers and mobile phones, those who live off the land, and those caught in exile, in borderlands or oppressed by governments or husbands – how do we reach them? How do we make room for their voices who do not speak in the same language?
These tools can be empowering for me as a teacher and as a journalist. I plan to incorporate the tools of Web 2.0 into the classroom, so students will be able to see how and why they can use the internet and mass communications to improve their understanding of the outside world and interact with people in various locations. How can they/we look outside for solutions and collaborate with others to learn and support people beyond the local and into the global arena. I have already begun to use Web 2.0 tools to write articles and contact interviewees who I would not be able to contact otherwise.
Take action! This post was submitted in response to Voices of Our Future Application: Empowerment and Web 2.0.