Zafar, Fatima's Assignment Week 1, 2010: Importance of Social Online Networks as a Tool for Empowerment
As the term Web 2.0 represents a new trend where anyone can create information and stories to share globally on the Internet, what is most exciting I found about Web 2.0 is instead of information flowing one way (like reading a book), we can interact to a community, share, and create information together online.
It also provides us with a historical opportunity to promote our voices, strengthen collaboration, and accelerate the exchange of working models for women’s empowerment and global challenges. A new generation of grassroots women leaders is emerging online. We want to connect with each other and our allies to share our experiences and bring our stories, needs, and solutions to the forefront of global awareness. When we connect with other women and share your vision for social change and for the future, it is powerful. Because, each of our voices is powerful and Web 2.0 and citizen journalism provide us further with the tools that can help grow and support our visions and connect with allies to bring about social change. With online communities, we cannot only quickly get feedback but we can share ideas, keep people up-to-date on our projects, and organize a gathering or action in your community i.e. Face Book & Pulse Wire, etc.
The Internet and social online networks have allowed a sort of seamless integration of working and non-working hours, which has brought a host of advantages, especially for women. Work-life balance has been an age-old issue for women everywhere. However, with the advent of the Internet, working hours have become flexible and thus management of the work-life balance easier.
It helps me take my work wherever I want. It definitely gives you a whole lot of flexibility. However, it also depends on the kind of work you do. For what I do, the Internet is great. People who are in the lower levels of the Pakistan social hierarchy have few chances to express their opinions publicly.
According to Shin'ichi Takemura, “network communication makes ordinary individuals' personalities visible” [Shin'ichi TAKEMURA (1998): Zigsaw Puzzle of Feelings/School of Information, NTT Publishing].
I found that there are three ways, which are empowering me on the Net:
1. Publishing: There is no high cost or other barriers to publishing one's own message on the Net. Web sites and e-mail magazines can be seen by anyone from anywhere.
2. Be Linked: Connections among related sites help create a community of information in which different sites have different roles.
3. Joining BBSs, etc. Even if a person does not have a Web site, that person can join the community and play an important role through communication spaces such as BBSs, chat, and Netnews. One can use a handle instead of one's real name and can hide any profile, which makes one feel free to discuss, complain, and argue.
All of these points are related to interpersonal connectivity. Thus, by linked to a community network empowers an individual.
In short, I think that being connected to the Internet and social networks while on the Internet is the key to women empowerment. It is an important way for a person to make his or her voice heard, we could speak, express and communicate easily.