FREEDOM OF SPEECH-THE PROMISE OF WEB 2.0
The constitutions of most democracies enshrine the freedom of speech. Yet in so many places around the world, people lack forums in which to speak, and when they do speak, no one listens, no one takes notice, and no one takes action. Sometimes, speaking leads to torture or death. Yet, we must speak.
Web 2.0 provides an opportunity to speak with the assurance that someone, somewhere, will listen to you, and because they are passionate about the issues you articulate, they will take notice and eventually, you will all move into action. In your own reality, you may be faceless and nameless but through web 2.0, you have an identity, and a voice.
The beauty of all this is the ability to reach out to the world through my writing even though I am not a trained journalist. The amount of power and freedom such an opportunity gives cannot be quantified. Many people want to write articles about what they experience, but finding a forum in print media is not always easy. Web 2.0 provides a critical tool through which to communicate and widen the audience. Through interacting with stories from other people, I will be able to expand my world view.
Web 2.0 gives women a voice to articulate issues that affect them, in their own voices, from their own perspectives. Women can tell their stories, talk about their successes, struggles, ideas, opportunities and ambitions without having to be from a specific education or literacy level. This in itself unlocks the great potential that exists within the women’s empowerment movement, for there are many women with critical ideas to contribute, but who are shut out due to lack of forums.
Web 2.0 connects women through sharing, and situations that have previously been categorized as extremely difficult transform to hope. This is especially so when you are able to learn of what someone else in a far flung place from you has been able to do against the odds. Sharing on web 2.0 creates networks whose achievements would only be limited by their imagination.
Web 2.0 is already empowering me by enabling me interact with diverse people. Reading through the posts of fellow women, and sometimes men, is already enriching my world view. I am appreciating not only the challenges, but also the beauty that is inherent in different cultures. I am already beginning to have evidence of the fact that no matter how different we are in terms of race, religion, and geographical location, the challenges that we face as women are similar. Just as all people are united in humanity, there is a common race called woman. Suddenly, my situation and that of several communities I interact with does not look very grim, because I am looking at things in perspective. My freedom of speech is back in my hands, and the possibilities are unlimited.