My very own tool of empowerment: Web 2.0
When I was a teenager, I had huge dreams. All I ever wanted was to be heard. But there’s something about a nerdy, simple girl’s dream that makes it easy to crush under a bully’s foot. Every time I tried to break the bubble kids around me forced onto my existence, I’d hear sniggers. I would hear someone pass a comment about how fat I was. Or a snide remark that someone so ugly should be legally barred from having an opinion. If what I said made sense, it did not count: I was a “retard” to them all. So my voice went deeper inside, but my thoughts were as loud as loud could be, in the inside of my head.
I needed a way out.
Web 2.0 was that way out for me. I was only in High School when the revolutionary ways of the internet had begun to take root in the world. Blogging was unheard of. But there were online journals and free-to-use platforms that later came to be understood as Blogs. I chanced upon them when I was doing a project for my Computer Science class, and there was no looking back. What excites me about Web 2.0 is what is very intricately woven into my narrative. What excites me about Web 2.0 is that it is a place where someone does listen, where someone does care, and someone, somewhere, at some time, wants to know what you have to say. A nameless, faceless person is sitting behind a computer screen, bathed in the blue glow, just reading and imbibing what you have to say.
As I grew up, I began volunteering with organizations across the world. I worked with grass-root organizations as their voice, by being the blogger. I wrote and narrated the stories of women in distress. I told the world stories of Rape. Domestic Violence. Honour Killings. Deprivation. Gender violence. Foeticide. Infanticide. As I wrote, I grew, because I didn’t just tell these stories, I felt them. What were just words for me here was the reality, the harsh truth for a woman, miles away. As much as the world was “ahead”, it was also terribly backward. And while I wrote this all, I realized that these women were being given the attention they were deprived of. People around me woke up to harsh realities, and were driven into action. When they read of these true stories in all their raw emotion, they stood up in solidarity. Knowledge is a catalyst for action, and that is the biggest way in which Web 2.0 can help: by propagating knowledge.
For me, personally, Web 2.0 has been a tool of empowerment. I was allowed to talk in a medium while I lived in a world of unrequited friendships. I was taken seriously, whether I chose to speak out against Rape or Bullying. I was given attention, my causes were given attention, and I was able to catalyse action. All with the power of Web 2.0.