New Media as Democracy
Web 2.0 embodies true democratic ideals in that it is a platform for the people and by the people. No one controls the flow of information; we have global access to enumerable voices and opinions, and each individual must choose which voices are most compelling and true. In theory, democracy is designed in just this way: we have faith that an intelligent and compassionate majority will ultimately make decisions to uplift the people. Unfortunately, in the United States this ideal dynamic is obscured because flow of information is controlled underhandedly by entities ranging from the federal government to the cable companies. While in some countries whoever has the guns controls the information, in the U.S. it is whoever has the money. This means those who most need their stories heard, the politically and economically disempowered, have the least access to mass communication, and everyone is limited by manufactured realities delivered by mainstream media. Web 2.0 is changing that, restoring democracy in the form of new media and citizen journalism. This provides an exceptional platform for voices that would not otherwise be heard, such as those of women. Historically, women have been universally silenced, even in countries that expound democratic ideals. Web 2.0 gives women a space to empower ourselves, together. Women in the U.S. can now join forces with women from all over the world, expanding the possibilities of democracy. Together, women are a force of nature, and interactive new media allows us to tap into that on a scale never before seen in history. Our opportunity is unique, and I feel a part of a great historical moment. We can no longer be silenced, and so we can make enormous progress towards peace, freedom, and equality, particularly because of our strengths as women. In my experience, communities of women work towards cooperation, mutual understanding, and support. Strong women who have come before us changed the face of history precisely because they believed freedom for anyone could only be realized through the liberation of everyone. Now, we are those women. We are no longer isolated by country or class, and facilitated by new media, we have the ability to create a true global democracy. True democracy is more than just a cacophony of voices fighting for supremacy, but rather an open-minded and diverse community working together for the betterment of all. This means that both the power and the responsibility are in our hands. As women, we are well prepared to navigate the obstacles and opportunities engendered in true democracy. Together, with the use of new media, we have the capacity to unleash a chorus of voices unimpeded by guns, power, or money, a world where intelligence and compassion are truly valued, and where our strength is rooted in the collective voice.