The expression ‘blogging’ always sounded mysterious to me. In my mind, one had to be rich, popular, educated, and well connected, a journalist of sorts or at least a computer whiz to be a blogger. The demystification of this process has been to me the most wonderful discovery I have made about Web 2.0 technology. I have since discovered that all you need are ideas running through your head, a computer with working internet, deft fingers to type with and time to get your ideas across. In blogging women from all walks of life, myself included, have found a way of getting our voices heard. There is nothing more liberating than creating a space in which you express your ideas and you are assured that in hitting the ‘publish’ or ‘submit’ button you are reaching out to so many people.
One blog post can rekindle hope in a woman who had turned hopeless. It can give invaluable information about how women can protect themselves from the predators of this world; disease, harmful practices such as female genital mutilation and human trafficking included. It can save lives by giving vital information on disease prevention and control. A simple blog post, written in the simplest language could be given a catchy title ‘How a condom protects you from getting HIV/AIDS’ or ‘How to check your breasts for lumps.’ This would go a long way in giving other women the much needed advice on how to protect themselves from contracting HIV/AIDS or looking out for deadly lumps that could cause breast cancer hence promoting women’s reproductive health rights.
My amazing discovery is that we, the women authoring such articles do not need to be experts in the subjects of our posts. The power of our words lies in our own lived experiences. The critical power behind blogging is the unique outlet it gives to the wells of untapped knowledge and wisdom that lie in many of us. The combination of the words with audio or visual tools such as video, pictures, animations and maps only enhances the appeal of the articles to the audiences but the words themselves are the most powerful tool.
My own experiences have also revealed how social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter can be useful spaces to share blog posts. Using my Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin accounts, I have shared my experiences as a female human rights defender and lawyer living and working on the African continent. The ability to break down complicated legal issues, present them in the simplest manner possible and share them with the world has been empowering. Through this new technology I am proud to have enabled my fellow sisters to take a stand against patriarchy, against oppression, against cultural perceptions and against practices that dis-empower them. I have also read other women’s experiences which have transformed my perceptions about many issues and given me life lessons.
Through Web 2.0, together we are all soaring like eagles.
Take action! This post was submitted in response to Voices of Our Future Application: Empowerment and Web 2.0.