World within a click
‘ Didi (sister in Hindi), I saw your pictures on Facebook and I have opened an account as well,’ echoed my sister’s voice over the phone, traversing thousands of miles . The excitement was befitting because she lives in a very small village called Boko, in Assam, India where technology and overall development has only started to seep in. I have to admit, that both us were literally hollering at each other over her this new found accessibility and suddenly an exuberant world of communication unfolded before us. And this is exactly what I find exciting about Web 2.0.The promise and actuality of infinite possibilities and opportunities; of bridging distances; of providing a digital platform to link, share and express our voices.
To further expound my point, Web 2.0 and its technological advancement can play the role of a catalyst and add onto women’s empowerment. It opens new doors for information sharing and the capacity of reaching out to the millions of internet users. It transcends the mores of traditional media and allows the user be the manager of her own content, notwithstanding the censures of the society; Government or the repressive power. Because some women out there dared to write and expose, I and thousands like me, got to know about some heinous customs such as teenage breast ironing, genital mutilation, banishment during menstruation and similar such heart wrenching facts.
We are already witnessing some of the successes of Web 2.0 from across the globe. Most recently, women from Egypt were actively blogging, tweeting their angst against a disrupt and collapsing country. Closer home in India, few ordinary women managed to run a controversial campaign called ‘pink chaddi (underwear) against the moral police of India, who in open daylight physically attacked few girls coming out of a pub in Bangalore. These bands of women ran offline and online campaigns on Facebook, blogs, twitter and created a massive mobilsation of voices and sent pink underwear in thousands to the offenders, as a condemnation to their barbaric act. This movement created ripples as women from all across India, poured in with their voice and support. The proliferation of Web 2.0 helped in magnifying the efforts and garnering support which otherwise would have been limited in its reach and effect.
The tools of Web 2.0, especially Facebook, online news media and blogs; have proved very useful and empowering. I am using these tools extensively for both professional as well as personal use. Web 2.0, has allowed me to connect, reconnect with friends, larger networks, professional groups, etc. Online forums and campaigns has opened avenues for me to link up with like minded professionals fighting for the rights of women and children to education, safe environment, health and social equality; or protest against crimes such as human trafficking, exploitation of children and other such malice. And through blogs, I have been able to refine my thoughts and visiting others, have been able to expand my knowledge and insight.