This program was recommended to me by a friend via facebook. Though I had an idea of the importance of web 2.0, I had never paused to understand deeply its life altering power on a larger scale. Deciding to participate in VOF 2011 felt like an irresistible task, though I was quite suspicious about the word “media”. Here is why. Media in its traditional connotation appeared to me an asymmetrical system of information consumption and production, exclusive to me as a woman, as a racial minority and as a student even. Despite this, I am positive that web 2.0 media training will afford me and other countless women who have been silenced the opportunity to resist the fear of speaking and make sure we are heard.
Web 2.0 has the immense capacity to bring solutions to the global women’s movement. Web 2.0 is about accessibility, opportunity, choice, education and participation. Women, many of whom I have read about, listened to or tweeted at, whether in Egypt, Libya, or in a rural village in Ghana and all over the world choose risk instead of safety and diversity instead of sameness daily. To risk, means to share our lived experiences as our own stories and to make sure no one takes away from them even in the face of imprisonment, rape, death and religious fundamentalism. Risking means that I have the supportive medium to share and create these stories so that they are not distorted, misrepresented or even trivialized.
Web 2.0 gives me the power to believe in the fluidity of communities and it is this power that allows meaningful, active participation online, despite the complexity and diversity of issues women face in different geopolitical contexts. I have witnessed these online networks transfer into local actions in Egypt, Libya. To be able to do likewise elsewhere I need education, a diversified form like web 2.0 interactive tools that stray from the old forms of knowledge sharing. It is catalyst for women to believe in a process that brings us closer and gives us a world of shared values and meaningful community.
To explain how empowering the tools of web 2.0 will be for me, I need to deconstruct “empowerment”. Often, empowerment is equated to a somewhat unbalanced distribution of power in which one thing has the ability to offer more or give to something but empowerment to me is about reciprocity. Reciprocity means that I invest in my community in the same manner, qualitatively and quantitatively as the resources invested in me. Web 2.0 will allow me to speak, write, create, share opinions, concerns, joys, struggles and also act in solidarity with others. Audre Lorde, an American feminist once said, “When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak.” Today, I make a choice and it is a choice to speak.