Awareness Goes Viral
I remember when I first saw the video posted to Facebook by a young girl names Asmaa Mahfouz. Her words had resonance for me. Asmaa made me understand how courage and determination can move mountains. She pleaded for unity, demanded human rights for the people of her beloved Egypt and an end to the dictatorship. I thought to myself, I hope this woman’s words break something and the flood comes. Little did I know that not only would she break the dam that had been holding an entire nation hostage, she would be the spark that would ignite a sense of honor and dignity in the land of the Nile. One woman created a collective will among a subjugated people. And all it took was for one video to be posted and her tireless efforts on the street for the message to reach millions
The people’s uprising in Egypt was an extraordinary event in a number of respects. Yet, it was the images, personal stories of struggle, videos and text that helped this revolution transcend the borders of Egypt. The whole world watched and waited. The global community came together and held its breath for the people of Egypt. People, they realized, who were just like them. This global connectivity was almost impossible to imagine just 20 years ago. Indeed, Tunisia and now Libya are all following suit. The world knows first hand and to the second what people are truly feeling, not just an impersonal blurb in a newspaper or magazine. Asmaa’s vlog asked the people for solutions and the people answered, ‘No More.’
It is thanks to the infinite, exciting possibilities of Web 2.0, that we can translate a personal story into a global event, we can forge unity among strangers. Information and idea sharing of this magnitude was unimaginable before. The media as we knew it could tell us what they wanted, how they wanted and as much as they wanted. Information could be manipulated for political convenience, by the dictator or their allies. But no more. Thanks to the social networks, blogs, vlogs and cellular technology our world and how we live in it has changed. People can find information on any subject they want with the touch of a button.
Web 2.0 has given all of us, you and me, a real voice. A platform on which I can stand up and say to the world, ‘Here I am, here is what I know and here is how you can help.’ It generates ideas, it sparks friendships and causes revolutions in thoughts and actions. Best of all we each have the power to use it when and as we wish. We are the creators and sustainers of this medium. It reminds us that we are not alone.