It is all about the spirit of communication
The philosophy behind New Media is uber cool. The old fashioned monologue and one way information has long gone and is being replaced by interactive methods that fosters international dialogue among the people especially women and creates the opportunity for life changing ideas. I want to hear about what people think and vice versa. I want thoughts to be constantly challenged. The assumptions, prejudices and generalised beliefs that I bring with me should be questioned about and reflected on. A shared learning space with the women of the world, which has no boundaries, can only further instigate creative ideas and well-informed societies that bring about an educated social change. It breaks all barriers of the conventional “swallow it all down” approach.
The way to capitalise New Media is through the use of Web 2.0 – the conduit. I have used social media to disseminate success stories about women, violations against women’s human rights, global issues, my thoughts and current happenings. This has reached many women who have either never heard about these issues or who have gone further to have discussions, exchange ideas and pass it on. Sometimes, I have been fortunate to highlight issues by being the voice of the “voiceless” women.
In Malaysia, we are eagerly awaiting the 13th general election. My country has been ruled by a single party for the last 56 years. As much as Malaysia seems like paradise from outside, highlighting their exploitation of our land’s resources, the corruption and cronyism in our government and their view on women’s human rights, has enabled me to surface the realities of my country.
I have been able to influence many Malaysian women who live in different parts of the world to register as voters by convincing them that they can make a difference with their votes. Voter turnout in Malaysia has been low and this has been used favourably by the government to create phantom votes and manipulate voter registrations. Using Web 2.0, such as YouTube, blogs, online independent media reports (as newspapers are controlled by our main political party) I have been able to convince them to be overseas voters (a new phenomenon for Malaysians). Without Web 2.0 this would have been a painstaking task. To me, reminding women and informing them about their rights as voters and the change they can bring about is an empowering exercise. Back in the day, the women’s movement did not fight for suffrage without reason.
This is just one small story about how I have used Web 2.0 personally. At work, as a women’s human rights advocate our main source of knowledge sharing is through Web 2.0. We are now working on webinars and webcasting our training sessions to increase the accessibility of women’s groups globally to learn about and use CEDAW as an effective advocacy tool. We have barely touched the surface. I am so excited about the unexplored possibilities of Web 2.0. It is within our control and that in itself is empowering for us as women.