Power of Social Media - Web 2.0

Posted October 10, 2011 from Papua New Guinea

I thought back to one of the very first assignments we had to do for the World Pulse VOF programme and it was on Web2.0 - how it has affected us, impacted us and way its going - I would like to share a great impact that Web2.0 is having within our community - in Papua New Guinea. Many Papua New Guineans who have access to a mobile phone through the communications company Digicel or able to get on the net , you can bet 90% of them have an account on Facebook! Facebook has made its name with advertising computers, it's made its way to the dinner table conversations, on the way to work or back home bus rides, two friends or family members who see each other every day would go post on each other's walls as if they did not meet 2 mins ago, or even so, sitting there together.

The corporate bodies have created pages and target customers through this avenue, from banks to airlines, radio stations, communications, groups, associations - it has become the one-stop shop for up-to-date on-the-go news! Even before it hits the headlines in the dailies, you'll know about it first through Facebook!

One current group that's been the talk on media (TV, papers, radio) is the Papua New Guineans Against Domestic Violence which was created last week and in 2 days had already reached 300+members. (http://www.facebook.com/groups/nodomesticviolencepng/?notif_t=group_acti...) This came about with the current news about the policeman brutally bashing/abusing his wife and is in hiding from the police and through this group, a lot more stories and women, especially sharing their thoughts, experiences ,action plans on what should be done about Domestic Violence. The group made news on the local media, radio broadcasts and newspapers - it even went on the ABC news.

An online petition was also done to try to attract 1000 signatures to action the campaign against Domestic Violence through Act Now PNG (http://actnowpng.org/action)

From an email that was sent out to the subscribers of the Act Now PNG site:

"More than 400 people have already sent emails to the Police Commissioner via the ACT NOW! website, more than 5,000 have joined the Facebook group, Papua New Guinean's Against Domestic Violence, and the newspapers have been bombarded with letters from the public. PNG's only women MP, Dame Carol Kidu, has sent her email to the Police Commissioner and she has congratulated ACT NOW! members on taking action and urged us all not to let the campaign falter.

On Sunday, the respected ABC radio news program, Correspondents Report, featured the campaign, including an interview with ACT NOW! program manager Effrey Dademo (http://www.abc.net.au/correspondents/content/2011/s3335282.htm)

MOST IMPORTANTLY, the police are hearing your message. Metropolitan Police Superintendent Joseph Tondop, who is leading the hunt for Joy Wartovo's abusive husband, has admitted the public outcry has increased the pressure on the police to act and has publicly appealed for help in recapturing Simon Bernard"

One of the once-taboo "subject" amongst families and communities is now being spoken and raised - people are not shying away and realise that this is no longer just a "married couple's problem" - but it affects the society in a huge way - and collectively we can stop this behaviour , attitude to continue to our future generations.

Why domestic violence? how did this ever come about ? we never heard of that happening amongst our grandfathers and grandmothers - all of a sudden, it's just becoming the norm in every household - violence is being seen by our children as part of life -

Again - the power of social media - of current technologies that contribute to impacting and bringing empowerment and education to people - no matter how old you are, where you're from - it gives you the opportunity to voice and network and make action for a better future.

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