I used to blog. Then one day I stopped, there was an inner turmoil. What was I doing, creating virtual garbage? I am a voracious blog reader. Yet, somehow, I wasn’t able to write, there were enough topics – even if I had only documented my daily routine. As a journalist in Bangalore I had the opportunity to meet so many different people and yet every time I would want to write the questions would start – Was I polluting the web space? And then a photojournalist friend – an avid blogger got the city space talking with the discrimination he had faced in one of the star hotels. And I realized that the medium was a powerful tool, not because it allows you to express yourself freely, the key also lies in tapping the right audience. He not only blogged, he twitted as well as left a facebook message tagging his blog. Instantly comments poured in, people started talking, engaging – and the best part was – it connected so many people. In the end, the PR of the very same hotel apologized and the hotel made changes to their parking policy. And in all of this I passively participated – watching the turn of events. My friend was discriminated – the hotel did not have a bike parking facility and he was frisked by the security personnel on duty. Raged by such a behavior, he realized no main stream paper would want to write a story on this. So, he used the internet to get this story across. He reached to a lot of people who related to that horrible experience. The story built a ‘community’, a brotherhood of sort. It showed me in close quarters how Web2.0 can be an empowering force. However, as with all kinds of power there is a sense of great responsibility. And while I am back to blogging (I’m far from the blog-a-day routine!), the question I frequently ask myself is – how, what I write contributes to any change? And if you look at my blog – www.vcsthereforevis.blogspot.com – it doesn’t. It is a web journal, but I hope to steer it to a direction. As my friend did, turning a mere web journal into a platform open for discussion. Web2.0 is not only about ‘telling a story’ it is about ‘sharing an experience, creating awareness’.
Take action! This post was submitted in response to Voices of Our Future Application: Empowerment and Web 2.0.