Web 2.0: Infinite possibilities, stopping the silence and the power of an online queer community
My immediate and spontaneous reaction to the possibilities of Web 2.0 is that they are infinite. I think about the democratizing possibilities when millions of people can become their own publishers and spread their perspectives. I think about the joy and insight that reading other peoples' stories can bring, or the therapeutic effect sharing your own often offers. I think about the formation of new friendship bonds and possible worldwide support networks. I think about knowledge and hope we can all produce with just an Internet connection.
But I also know the world seldom work in the best possible way. All of the above are real opportunities and do happen every second of the day, but the spreading of propaganda, abusive photographs, online bulling and commercial interests far from our democratic goals are also real. The digital divide, with people in developing countries not having access to the vast amount of information and resources Internet can offer because of poverty, armed conflicts or societal structures, while another part of the world easily can access an ever growing intricate structure of knowledge and power through the web, is a real problem. The digital divide is also gendered. In India and China only 30% of Internet users are female, which means that their voices lead the risk of being drowned in a media climate promoting the strong majority. I believe that educating young girls in computer and online skills, as well as languages, is a start in helping bridge this divide.
The main solution Web 2.0 can bring to the global women's movement is stopping the silence. The silence we experience when women's right are compromised worldwide and their experiences conveniently forgot about or interpreted as "not as important." Web 2.0 and its communities, forums and myriad of ways to express oneself can help shed light over earlier silenced events and experiences, since no one can censor or edit the things we put up, and thereby force a change and an improvement of the lives of women worldwide.
Through web 2.0 I can share my political views and build a network surrounding my writing and feminist opinions. Without the blog I run I would never have found so many interesting people, been encouraged to write debate articles, opened the eyes of people in a hetreonormative world or found the confidence to try build a carrier focusing on women's rights. I'm in a relationship with a transsexual girl, and the international as well as Swedish trans community has been of great help in coping with all the challenges that being queer in our world means. Web 2.0 can connect people despite physical distances, and this helps our community since we are not that many transgenderd people and trans allies in comparison the whole population. I believe that Web 2.0 can be even more empowering if I learn more about its different dimensions and functions, and I thereby can build an even stronger network to continue the fight for girls' and transgender rights!