"VOF Week 1: (Bridging the distance)."
During one get together where our extended family had met for the first time in my memory, we the younger ones watched in amazement and amusement even when our parents were crying and hugging. I remember one of my aunts who I was meeting for the first time was so much in tears that I wondered if she was enjoying the party! My grandpa was a polygamist with five wives hence it was quite a re-union. This particular aunt whose name I had only heard, had not met her siblings for over 20 years! We kept asking our parents how come they never talked or met “distance my children” they said. I felt sad for them, 20 years without any idea how the other siblings were doing!
I started imagining how life would be if I were to stay for 20 years without meeting my friends or having an idea how they are doing let alone siblings. I am quite a social person and communication means a lot to me. It is therefore exciting for me to have Web 2.0 where I can not only share my thoughts but also keep track of my network of friends. The most exciting aspect of Web 2.0 for me is the social networking tools that enable me keep in touch and get to know new persons and issues. Many thoughts and issues are never shared in the mainstream media and hence this media for me has become the way to share thoughts that nobody can edit! Unlike letters to the editor in newspapers, here I share my thoughts and they are published exactly as I want them. I also get views on issues that are dear to me.
Web 2.0 therefore offers opportunity to women’s empowerment as well as building strong movements by sharing information. Many resources are available online for women and hence women can come together around common interests. Grassroots women have often being left out of development processes and their issues not brought into the limelight as their roles in development remain invisible. However, the mobile phone technology ensures that even in remote areas, community members can access internet via phone. This has gone a long way in reducing the technology apathy that was associated with women where technology was considered a male domain. Women can therefore share their thoughts and seek for solutions. They can also be heard world wide.
I have felt empowered by Web 2.0 as I share my thoughts and realise other persons are also sharing the same thought. I have been able to connect with new and old acquaintances online hence bridging the physical distance, for with Web 2.0 every one is just a click away. I have met many persons online and shared a lot without having met them physically. My parents didn’t have the opportunity, but I have it and am utilising this to the maximum, there is no distance!