Web 2.0 and the Small World Phenomenon
It is mind-boggling how our lives have changed with the advances in communication technology! Forget slow snail mail and postal strikes. Now it’s email and bandwidth speeds. Social networks spin webs of human interconnectedness. We text while on the move, embrace emails in virtual offices and exchange information on demand. Every day there’s a new app to discover, a new follower to befriend, an interesting blog post to read or a website to surf.
Web 2.0 has allowed our reach to stretch. Consider Ubuntu: Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu (I am what I am because of who we all are) talks of connecting, sharing, community involvement and the tradition of storytelling. Substitute ‘social media’ for ‘Ubuntu’ and it’s the same definition. Social media is actually a very African concept!
Digital social media has the power to foster social change for the global women’s empowerment movement. Story Scarves joined One Billion Rising. OBR’s online networks integrated with social and traditional media resulting in a viral campaign that engaged activists and participants globally. Even at grassroots, near the southern tip of Africa, teen girls in Soweto joined sister organisations from New York City to Italy and Libya rising across borders and uniting into a stronger voice.
I marvel at the idea of Six Degrees of Separation, that feeling of proximity whenever I’m online. I’ve found myself connecting with people in places I’ve never visited, learning about different cultures and discovering other creative activists that share my views. It seems that the population on Earth is closer now than ever before. The world has definitely got smaller with the phenomenal Web 2.0.