Web 2.0: The Networked Impact
The advent of Web.2.0 technologies has witnessed a phenomenal transformation in the communication landscape which was once dominated by the old media and their one-to-many communication model. Interactive nature of Web 2.0 tools has broadened the communication opportunities creating platform for one-to-one and many-to-many dialogues across political, economic, social and cultural divides. Collaborative architectural structures of Web 2.0 have made it possible for anyone to not only generate and produce contents for mass consumption, but also to become an ‘activist’ or a citizen journalist to initiate a dialogue and mobilize support on issues that matter to them and society.
Web 2.0 encourages and empowers social movement activists around the world to challenge the status quo by mobilizing collective action to push their demands to national and international agendas. This is why Web 2.0 based social media are increasingly seen as an indispensable tool in the collective action repertoire of activists. Low costs and high accessibility of Web 2.0 tools enable activists to circumnavigate the traditional gatekeepers of information and censorship and directly communicate with their different target audiences.The networked design of Web 2.0 has changed the way in which contemporary social movement activists organize, coordinate and mobilize for collective action.
Web 2.0 has increased the voice, solidarity and strength of the global women’s empowerment movement by enabling leaders and participants to network, organise and coordinate their activities across geographic and social boundaries.V-Day’s One Billion Rising, a global campaign to end violence against women and girls, was able to mobilise millions of people to the streets across the world on February 14th, 2013, eliciting their solidarity towards the core message at the heart of the One Billion Rising Campaign. The organisers stated the February 14 event “marked the largest global action in history to end violence against women and girls.” Web 2.0 undoubtedly helped the organisers to spread their campaign worldwide and mobilize what they believe over one billion men and women in 207 countries to “come together and express their outrage, and to strike, dance and RISE against violence.”( http://onebillionrising.org)
The success of the One Billion Rising demonstrates what type of solutions Web 2.0 brings to the global women’s empowerment movement; Web 2.0 amplifies visibility, solidarity and voice of the movement creating space for different grassroots, national and international groups to organise, coordinate and mobilize action to work towards short and long term objectives of the global women’s empowerment movement.
As an individual advocating for improved conditions and rights for women and girls in my country, particularly those affected by war and violence, Web 2.0 allows me to connect with in-country and global networks to highlight needs, issues and aspirations of women who continue to live at the margins of their communities largely excluded from policy agendas and decision making structures. And more importantly, to engage in advocacy and discourse that aim to bring greater awareness and attention to the urgent need for action in securing and safeguarding equal rights and opportunities for women and girls.