Reclaiming my Voice
I think what excites me most about Web 2.0 is the power to ‘create’. My ability to express myself and voice my opinions is limitless as far as my imagination can go. Web 2.0 does not restrict me to a particular form or type. It costs less to publish using new media than traditional mass media such as newspapers. Except for the cost of internet access, it is free in most cases.
Web 2.0 has changed the way I communicate with my friends, colleagues, clients, partners, family and the global community. I got my first email account (Yahoo mail) in 1997 or 1998. In 2001, while studying for my Masters’ degree in the UK, I joined newsgroups and email lists to try to stay informed about topics that interest me such as law, art, fashion and travel. I now have Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Flickr, Skype accounts and subscribe to several email lists including some on PulseWire.
I can share my thoughts and reach a vast number of people at the same time by sending a tweet, posting on Facebook and using other social media. It also means that I get access to resources from other women all over the world on how they are tackling similar issues that affect me. This makes Web 2.0 an innovative tool for bringing diverse groups of women together.
Women generally find it harder to meet and discuss due to cultural barriers and family commitments. Web 2.0 makes it easier by allowing women to go online when they can and tell their stories in their own words. It therefore contributes to the global women’s empowerment movement as we can challenge gender stereotypes and focus on issues that benefit women. It also means that we eliminate editors who may feel uncomfortable about relating women’s stories or find reporting women’s issues unprofitable or controversial. It is all about amplifying our voices as women and Web 2.0 and new media provides a powerful alternative.
I joined Facebook to find old friends and network. I did not realise that it can be used as a tool for social activism until my organisation, started a ‘stop violence against women’ group in 2009. On twitter, I follow people and organisations that interest me and generally tweet or comment on issues of gender discrimination, gender equality, violence against women, child marriage, good governance, human rights, good cuisine, Art, and family life.
Web 2.0 provides this new media platform for me to reclaim, create and affirm. I want to raise awareness about social injustice and human rights violations. I want to campaign for an end to gender based violence. I want to write about our different roles and identities as women. I want to celebrate successful women. I want to listen to other women and share experiences. I want to support other women’s work and empower others. I want my voice to be heard.