When the basic freedom of assembly, expression and movement are absent, web 2.0 becomes crucial tool of mobilization
I can clearly remember the day I joint facebook. I can also remember how I gave my friends hard time to convince me to use social media\web 2.0.
My opinion at that time was that social media limits the actual human interaction, and that it make people “lazy” to work with people on the ground; I believed (and still do) that face to face discussion and interaction is more “human” and convincible method of change.
Another factor at that time was the limited usage of internet in my country, which put the effectiveness of web 2.0 in doubt.
Eventually my network of people on facebook and later twitter and other platforms has grown, I started to share stories from my country, open discussions about sociopolitical and economical issues as well as getting knowledge about likeminded activists from around the African continent, having said that despite this progress, I have not used web 2.0 strategically, for me it was platform to share and exchange information that I did not at that time have clarity over how to employ this online activism into my\our offline campaigns on the ground, this was until the what been known as “Arab Spring” raised, we could see how powerful social media was, and we learnt a lot from the experiences of those countries’ activists.
In Sudan, where freedom of expression, movement and assembly are poorly granted, web 2.0 is an ideal tool to mobilize community and influence change, this was clear during the protests the country witnessed during June- July 2012 web 2.0 was the meeting room of activists, the advocacy platform and the media channel. It made huge difference in the work of many activists towards the usage of 2.0
Few months ago I was selected to the sister-to-sister mentorship program with the Nobel Women’s initiative, an organization deeply believes in the power of social media. The experience of the Nobel Women’s initiative amazed me, I explored how powerful web 2.0 on issues of gender justice and human rights work.