Web 2.0: Infinite possibilities, stopping the silence and the power of an online queer community

Sofia Zettermark
Posted September 12, 2011 from Sweden

My immediate and spontaneous reaction to the possibilities of Web 2.0 is that they are infinite. I think about the democratizing possibilities when millions of people can become their own publishers and spread their perspectives. I think about the joy and insight that reading other peoples' stories can bring, or the therapeutic effect sharing your own often offers. I think about the formation of new friendship bonds and possible worldwide support networks. I think about knowledge and hope we can all produce with just an Internet connection.

But I also know the world seldom work in the best possible way. All of the above are real opportunities and do happen every second of the day, but the spreading of propaganda, abusive photographs, online bulling and commercial interests far from our democratic goals are also real. The digital divide, with people in developing countries not having access to the vast amount of information and resources Internet can offer because of poverty, armed conflicts or societal structures, while another part of the world easily can access an ever growing intricate structure of knowledge and power through the web, is a real problem. The digital divide is also gendered. In India and China only 30% of Internet users are female, which means that their voices lead the risk of being drowned in a media climate promoting the strong majority. I believe that educating young girls in computer and online skills, as well as languages, is a start in helping bridge this divide.

The main solution Web 2.0 can bring to the global women's movement is stopping the silence. The silence we experience when women's right are compromised worldwide and their experiences conveniently forgot about or interpreted as "not as important." Web 2.0 and its communities, forums and myriad of ways to express oneself can help shed light over earlier silenced events and experiences, since no one can censor or edit the things we put up, and thereby force a change and an improvement of the lives of women worldwide.

Through web 2.0 I can share my political views and build a network surrounding my writing and feminist opinions. Without the blog I run I would never have found so many interesting people, been encouraged to write debate articles, opened the eyes of people in a hetreonormative world or found the confidence to try build a carrier focusing on women's rights. I'm in a relationship with a transsexual girl, and the international as well as Swedish trans community has been of great help in coping with all the challenges that being queer in our world means. Web 2.0 can connect people despite physical distances, and this helps our community since we are not that many transgenderd people and trans allies in comparison the whole population. I believe that Web 2.0 can be even more empowering if I learn more about its different dimensions and functions, and I thereby can build an even stronger network to continue the fight for girls' and transgender rights!

Voices of Our Future Application: Empowerment and Web 2.0

Comments 4

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Sep 12, 2011
Sep 12, 2011

hello , i admire your positiveness as i have no current interraction with transgender however i do question this alternative of internet web 2.0 or else .. as myself have close friends in europe and cannot go there to meet them or once in a while which means some days in a year as i was there but my visa expired , now i am in lebanon and reading your article makes me think about internet because internet is a space where i spend a fair amount of my life at the moment and i do question the physical interaction and the feeling of the other whether he/she is physicaly in metters away of you or miles away of you . i give another exemple of people who are exiled for economic reasons or political ones they leave their families , friends and try to find a path in a new country . Does internet as a space can really reduce miles ?

Sep 12, 2011
Sep 12, 2011

Hi Sofia, just a warm welcome in a sentence, looking forward to interrogate you more about your passion.


Sep 13, 2011
Sep 13, 2011

Hi Zettermark, Thank you for this brave sharing of your life experience! I can't help but believe that our world will improve with wonderful women like you building bridges with tools like Web 2.0. I live in El Salvador, and the trans community here faces an extreme sort of discrimination which I think is fairly common in all countries around the world, unfortunately-- so I'm glad to hear someone shedding light on this. Your experience in your relationship, as well as an individual woman and as a member of the world community--this is all what the world needs to hear! Keep writing! I'd love to hear more stories of your experiences and then hear you connect the story with what that shows about our world, and what actions we can take to continue building a positive place for us all. Perhaps you can think of some moments that are emblematic of your struggle, of your partner's struggle, of Swedish womens' struggles?

Sep 19, 2011
Sep 19, 2011

Hello Zettermark, I must start by saying I admire your passion/effort towards your cause women/transgendered rights. It is good to see someone taking active steps to get involved and in not being shy to discuss issues that you feel are important.

As pointed out you have the passion and thus the empowerment to fight your corner, however I would and I think this is in line with what Dmack08 has to say, be good to know more about you personally. I want to know more about why these things are important for you to stand up for? What are the issues sought to be solved? A sense of injustice, that things are unfair? is it your sense of liberty? your right/freedom to choose? what values and morals do you believe in and why?Why must these people be heard?What has made you want to get involved in this cause?

I have been intrigued by your article and think it raises some interesting issues, I have studied to a certain degree the rights of persons transgendered, intersex, gay etc, but I would like to know more on a person to person level and you clearly have the experience to give that account. I eagerly await what else you have to say in the future.

Good luck, Charlotte