Imagine if Web 2.0 were an off the shelf app … and you’re at a trade show listening to a rep scream into a microphone announcing the latest, greatest attributes of this product: “Folks, it does everything but the laundry! Your kids will love it! Your spouse will love it! Even your dog will come to know and appreciate its uses! Come check it out! We have free pens too…”
But Web 2.0 isn’t off the shelf; it’s as elusive as the internet in the 90’s unless you get it, I mean really get it. For change agents, Web 2.0 establishes accountability for what’s communicated. Participants, not nameless news corporations, publicize their names, experiences, and perspectives; in some cases their families, livelihood and quite possibly their lives are at risk for their passion to speak out. Like accountability, true connections are cultivated; Web 2.0 circumvents mind-numbing monologs, once-sided sermons, and rigid arguments. Rather, it invites spirited dialog, encourages participatory discourse, and supports respectful disagreement. Connecting with women globally stitches together the necessary pieces of the “global equality quilt” that proudly distinguishing our respective races, ethnicities, faiths, orientations, and every facet that makes us unique members of this world.
On a personal note, Web 2.0 saved my soul. A little over 2.5 years ago, my husband died. An otherwise healthy and vibrant man, he was terminally diagnosed and died 10 months later. Since then, I’ve viewed the world a bit differently; what used to matter doesn’t much anymore, and what I often shrugged off now seems to be very, very important. At first, I thought this was my grieving process; experts say grief is very unique and there is no “right” way to experience it. But this thing didn’t go away and my other symptoms of grief had. Then, this past spring during a vernal equinox celebration I hosted with a fabulous group of women, the stirring began. Nothing was what it seemed; it was as though life’s stage had tilted a few degrees and I began to feel like I had to continuously correct my position. Then a friend sent me the World Pulse website with the VoOF application announcement that, quite simply, called out to me. This calling wasn’t about the opportunity to be a VoOF correspondent; but about a plan I had dreamed about, written about, fanaticized about, and, over the years, despondently brushed off as a childish dream.
Because of the women I have met through their stories and understanding what it takes to stand up and actually DO something, I AM going to DO something! I am leaving “the grind” and taking a sabbatical so I can get to know my country and its people, at the grassroots level, and write about it. And my passenger, navigator, translator, friend, teacher, student, colleague and simple companion sitting next to me will be Web 2.0.
Now, how cool will it be to be a VoOF correspondent while traveling the blue highways?!