The Rise of the Fifth Estate i.e. US!
Apart from the obvious advantages that web 2.0 brings to the way we effectively communicate today, owning time to our advantage, the most exciting aspect that web 2.0 brings the attention of the global audience to the many unheard voices that have not always got their due in traditional forms of media, whether print, radio or television.
The widespread ownership of the web 2.0 makes more people identify with it and although this medium is gradually becoming more inclusive, it has mobilized mass opinion like no other. What is more often touted as its shortcoming than the reason for the success of web 2.0 and its eventual takeover of mainstream media is its open access, user generated existence and visibility based on sharing between peers. This, however, has closed the gap between information and reality or publication and the common man. For this reason, relatively speaking, the 5th estate (as it is popularly accepted to be now) is the least adulterated by the politics and profits of corporates and the government. Also since information and opinion is abundant and in variety, each consumer and citizen has the power to choose what s/he believes. This kind of discretionary judgment is a progressive step towards a greater civil society as each citizen's point of view is well informed and given due diligence by all.
Given its transparency to the public and its potential to mobilize, the web 2.0 will bring greater connectivity and sorority to the global women's empowerment movement as organizations and individuals around the world are employing various tactics to alleviate the status of women from different positions. Through the power of social networking sites like Twitter, the networking between many individuals, non profits, media houses and other franchises for collaborations on campaigns and project work on women's rights and welfare has made the force of women's movement only stronger and more visible to the society. An instance of this would be the popularity of a hashtag called #vaw on Twitter which is actively followed by activists and organizations around the globe to spread the message of violence against women that has brought more men and boys and young people to do the dialogue of gender issues and women's rights.
The web 2.0 has challenged my mindset and helped me to mould my own beliefs via the variety of opinions it brought in a common platform (recognized dailies to upcoming newsletters, publications, blogs, tweets, videos on Youtube) and take a stand on urgent issues through writing and blogging. Moreover, Flickr (an open photo sharing and networking platform) has given me the enhanced opportunity to express, present and mobilize my skill in photography and take forward my cause, two steps ahead as I capture my organization's grassroots initiatives and mass mobilization events like the Delhi Slutwalk, Please Mend the Gap (a silent flash mob activity to promote equal and safer spaces for all genders in the New Delhi Metro) and individual stories that reflect community change.