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VOF Week 1: (Living in a '2.0' World - The Web of Interacting Voices)

As the weather is finally warming in Toronto, Canada, I set off on my first outdoor run of the season. And as I so often do on these runs, I let my thoughts guide the way.

I smiled and greeted my fellow open-air junkies, but was met mostly with silence and blank stares; and it occurred to me, as it has on several previous occasions, that I am living in a culture where we have been socialized to sooner address our neighbours with bowed heads than acknowledge their presence and risk the potential “awkwardness” that might ensue thereafter.

An otherwise uneventful hour of exercise led me to the realization that our world can be an intimidating place, populated by “strangers” who, although with good intentions, bright ideas, and noteworthy voices, may be hesitant to make that initial face-to-face connection.

Whether we share backyards or are distanced by continents, the time has arrived to raise our heads and our voices. There is something remarkably exciting about Web 2.0 and that is its ability to transcend borders and open the floor for discussion – in an unprecedented way – encouraging “regular” people to publicly speak up and out on matters of concern.

Web 2.0 is a mechanism leading us into a new era of journalism, one where we are afforded a more detailed and intimate account of what is taking place in our world. The narratives relayed via citizen journalism are more organic because they are emitted directly from the source rather than by way of third party journalists who are sent to report on the story, but who have rarely lived the story themselves.

What is more extraordinary, Web 2.0 has the ability to relieve the aforementioned anxiety experienced by citizens (particularly women who have lived under the rule of ‘to be seen and not heard’) accustomed to more traditional methods of public discourse. One of our community members, in her entry titled “A Woman’s Voice”, evidenced that our individual journeys to find our words will vary, but that our collective passion for writing is infectious and breeds the kind of cheerleading necessary to evoke progressive change.

Because Web 2.0 empowers other women, it is consequently self-empowering. It provides me with knowledge I would not otherwise be party to, and the resolve to openly reflect on said knowledge. It begs me to ask more questions and to communicate on a wider and deeper level, and it reaffirms the truth that we are on this journey together.

Thus, ‘to be seen and not heard’ will no longer suffice for today’s women, and Web 2.0 is seeing to it that those actively engaged in the women’s empowerment movement have a safe and positive platform on which to stand and confidently project their voices. In our VOF group, alone, we are privileged with a diverse representation of women from around the world. By way of this newfound courage and means with which to address the public, solutions to global issues we face may effectively follow.


jap21's picture

I feel the same way

Dear Jackie:

I am glad you pointed out these facts. I smile now when I remember two years ago when I visited a web group and got banned for pointing out the same thing! They had one discussion topic, and that was it. Nobody could talk about anything else, even if one thought it was important or relevant. And the owner of the group told me I had to follow the 'netetiquette' of that group, and he had to approve every message that was to be posted. Things have improved dramatically since then, and as a happy result we can now have a group where we do not have restrictions about what to post, or when or to whom. World Pulse is, as far as I am concerned, a braketrrough in the web that allows us to worry not so much about the form, but about the content of what we share.

Love your article!

Jackie (from Bolivia)

Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva
Tarija - Bolivia
South America

B.J. (Bolivian Jackie),

Based on your own experiences with Web 2.0, it seems as though we are advancing on a couple of fronts: 1) Web 2.0, in and of itself, is revolutionizing information exchange; and 2) With new Web 2.0 channels made available on a continual basis, there is increasing room for a multiplicity of dynamic opinions and ideas.

I am thrilled that the subject of Web 2.0 is our jumping-off point on the VOF forum, as there are numerous ways to approach this technology and its potential for good. It is, after all, the motive for why you and I (and other PulseWire members) are here in the first place.

Thank you for your words of encouragement, B.J., and let us continue to utilize Web 2.0 for provocative discussion and debate!

With admiration,

C.J. (Canadian Jackie)

cad_communication's picture

I agree

I totally agree with you. For us in Zimbabwe and in other countries, there is limited freedom of expression. The media is gagged. However, Web 2.0 definately gives us a chance to tell our stories without being censorsored. It is a platform to transform the way we advocate for our rights.


Cultural Correspondent's picture

In Zimbabwe...

do many many women have access to computers and Internet technology? I read your VOF Week 1 entry, Gertrude, and I am so excited to hear about all the great things you are using Web 2.0 for! Are there other women in your community jumping on this important bandwagon?

With admiration,


Not many women have access to computers and the Internet technology. In Zimbabwe, very few people own computers. Those who have access to computers are to a greater extend unable to use the Internet technology. Of the few women who have access to computers, the majority spend less than 30 minutes a day on the Internet.
Access to the computer and the Internet technology is from work, school/university or the Internet cafes. In Bulawayo,(the second largest city in Zimbabwe) internet cafes charge users USD1 for every 10 to 15 minutes.
Some of the factors why women (including men) have limited access to computers and Internet technologies include high poverty rates (More than 80% of the population lives below the poverty datum with an individual living on less than USD1 per day), frequent and unreliable power supplies, high telephone charges, and it takes long to download documents on the Internet due to poor service by the service providers. In addition, there are not many schools/Universities with ICT programmes to advance the MDG goals in a creative way.
I find myself very humbled to be part of this exciting journey. The first assignment was an eye opener for me. I have already shared what i have learned about using Web 2.0 with my family and friends who have no access to the internet and computers. Many of them are equally excited and asking many questions which i cannot answer at this stage. I look forward to learning more from the second assignment so that i can answer some of their questions.

Warm regards,
Gertrude Pswarayi


Reading your words and learning where you come from and why you are doing what you are doing is one of the main reasons I am on this forum. I am so grateful that we can share our lives and cultures with one another, because obtaining information from tertiary sources just doesn't hold the same effect or understanding.

Who is assuming responsibility in Zimbabwe to get the ball rolling on creating a sustainable technological infrastructure? I am in no way, shape, or form an expert on your country, and I know all of this is much easier said than done, considering the complicated socioeconomic systems that factor in. The way I see it, the primary focus should be on alleviating the poverty epidemic facing Zimbabweans and establishing an education system that focuses, first and foremost, on the basic foundation of learning and literacy and, second, on incorporating technologies such as the computer and Internet/Web 2.0 that will link Zimbabweans to the "outside" world. Hearing that your relatives are so excited about technologies such as Web 2.0 is further validation that these are matters to be addressed and entertained.

If we raise awareness, which is exactly what we are doing at this very moment, then we can begin to facilitate development.



Nzasu's picture

Miss Canada

How do you survive in the cold.I have major issues when it drops to 11 degrees centigrade.And just now I relived my New York experience.I thought I would die it was so cold. I just don't know what living like that on a permanent would be.Here in Kenya today it is 27 degrees centigrade and am loving it! I get my Vitamin D naturally enough with the weather.

Interesting culture, hear you cant just walk past someone without saying hello especially your neighbor.Ontop of that they would need to shake your hand, or its considered rude.We are westernizing so a little of that cold behavior "am an individual character" is wearing on but on a general its not there.

Citizen journalism is indeed the future! Its no longer about oh I work for CNN or this story is from BBC. Instead its about the content of material.Does it capture the story, the information etc then where it came from is a detail. Remember the Tsunami was captured on a camera phone by a tourist ,so Journalists beware catch on or stay behind web 2.0 is the future

Cultural Correspondent's picture

Warm Sweaters!!!

And copious amounts of hot chocolate! ;) Seriously, though, Canada has been such a wonderful country to grow up in that even when I am freezing my behind off, I am thanking my lucky stars for all that I have been blessed with!

What is interesting to me is the discrepancy in cultures that you bring to light, Nzasu. There is no denying that every civilization has its own set of social norms. I have spent a considerable amount of time abroad where I have experienced this firsthand; in Brazil, for instance, it is not unusual to be greeted with a "bom dia" (good morning) on the streets, at the universities, or in the washrooms(!), or have a seated passenger offer to hold your bags while you stand on an overcrowded bus. I have attempted the same approach at home and have been met with some trepidation, but I keep trying in hopes that it will one day have a domino effect!

Still, with globalization in full swing, and an abundance of international media outlets (the Internet included!) pulling us in many directions, from what I have observed and by way of this media, more and more of the world's citizens are becoming acclimatized to a "North American" way of life. Although standards of living vary greatly in differing regions, North American media has a powerful hand in creating an image of the “good life” longed for by many, and this life of privilege is often attached to the notion of individualism.

Canadians (and those living in other developed nations) have a propensity toward such individualism because we are accustomed to our personal space and privacy. This same “luxury” is not necessarily afforded to citizens of developing countries, where space and privacy are the exception and not the rule.

Hence, when you point out that Kenyans are “Westernizing” and becoming a little more cold and individualistic in their nature, you can thank international media – and its subliminal (and not so subliminal) messages – for this!

Again, I stress that forums such as this one are of utmost importance because they open the lines of communication, and allow us to share our cultures with one another and ask questions honestly and respectfully. Now I know that Kenyans are generally friendly people and you know that Canadians might be a little standoffish at times. Let’s use this newly acquired knowledge to enhance our own communities, and ultimately, our world.

Nzasu's picture

My hides and Skins!

I don't think your domino effect will work sorry! and am sure it has something to do with the weather.I was reading about this disorder that is related to cold weather it encompasses mood swings,irritable behavior etc.So if you can change the Canadian weather then well your kind actions will be appreciated.Am sure they lighten up in the summers though.

You are right about the North American media being powerful and being pretty much everywhere.And because of that and as I feel I have been cheated all my life after having experienced the west and it being like nothing I saw in the movies, I have made a conscious decision not to watch any western television.

For news and especially when I want to know whats going on around the world, I watch the BBC, CNN, Aljazeera and I make up my mind on how I feel about certain things based of that. However for entertainment and general informational purposes I watch local productions and TV shows, Nigerian movies(Did you know the Nigerina movie industry is the third largest in the world.You can get a copy online of some of their movies thanks to webs 2.0 not sure on what site though.And anything else from the continent I can get my eyes on.I have 53 African countries to choose from!

What you see what you hear everyday does influence you!I may be called racist but all my life I have listened to and watched the other race and now its time for me to listen to my own and be surrounded by own.If the rest care to support this join in, however if you intention is to reel me in back by telling me my ways are primitive etc you will receive a cold welcome.

Personal space and privacy...A Nigerian man was discovered in his apartment in his UK apartment after having died 3 months ago privileged indeed! And there are many more examples.

I'll say this again you can learn what people across the world are doing what they are saying how they do and feel about certain things, but do not impose your values and ideals on them.Iraqi women according to the west do not have freedom they are oppressed as they are confined to their homes to take care of the children and the household.So what does the west do it goes and kills their oppressors and then tells them, now you are free now you can work and go to school.Offcourse now I have to go to work because you have killed the bread winner!

My opinion they are not oppressed we as women are so consumed in trying to be like men that we have forgotten about our offsprings and family life.Look at the typical family in the west divorced,obese,alcoholic etc because they emphasize career,independence not family.And heres the best part they have kids take them to daycare as they hurriedly return to tehir careers and they think they are juggling and managing it all.You are not! you do not know your child,you barely spend time with them,and that is why they are going into crime even though they come from rich nations.If they were stealing for food it would be different but now they have it all but they are in knife crime,going to schools shooting people and the list is endless!

Iraqi woman can use a similar argument and say that you are not caring for your children and family life and come and destroy all your schools and workplaces.

Remember in life theres lots of things that you do not like but you have to learn to tolerate just because you believe in something doesn't give you the right to impose your values on other people( I read this somewhere cant remember where)

So what are you going to do with the new culture you learn from other people using web 2.0?

is to use this cultural and social awareness to expose ignorance and arrogance. The more we really know about what is going on around us, the better armed we will be to inform others about the realities and injustices we are confronted with every day, both as women and as citizens of the world.

- Jackie

Cultural Correspondent's picture



JaniceW's picture

I love this conversation

Reading this dialogue fills me with joy as you cross borders and cultures, to connect through your common ideals. Our love for humanity has brought us all here but it is the friendships that are being made that will keep the pulse of World Pulse beating. Your stories from the ground give our editorial team inspiration for our magazine, and your insights give us on PulseWire the motivation to keep this community active and strong. Thank you all for your openness of heart and mind. It's truly a joy to know you all.


This initiative has already been quite an adventure, and yet it has only just begun! I think as the process continues, more and more honest and raw perspectives will be unearthed, as may already be seen with the aforementioned dialogue.

We are living in a complex, complicated and conflicting world, and this is bound to come through on the forum.

Warm Regards,


Fatima Waziri's picture

Hey there! I love how

Hey there!

I love how engaging your story is. Once i started reading, i didn't want to stop. Indeed, web 2.0 has helped bring women together, women who ordinarily would not be heard. However, I would have loved to see more of what solutions you think Web 2.0 brings to the global women's empowerment movement.

Good job!


Cultural Correspondent's picture


Hi Fatima,

Thank you for your comments and suggestions -- I will certainly take them into consideration, and will continue to think of ways that Web 2.0 empowers the global women's movement.

As mentioned previously, I think one of the greatest 'solutions' (if we can call it that) provided by Web 2.0 is its establishment of a safe and positive virtual gathering spot where women, globally, may exchange information, offer ideas, and address issues concerning women from their own cultures or learn about issues facing women in other regions of the world. I don't think this can or should be undervalued, as nothing like Web 2.0 has previously existed for women, especially for those living in societies where their voices have been silenced and their ability to problem solve undermined. Even in Canada, many women are accustomed to this cynicism and negativity.

On a separate note, after reading some of the responses to my post, it is clear that Web 2.0, while an important step in the direction of freedom of thought and speech for the global woman, is only available to a select privileged few. For those of us fortunate enough to have access to the Internet and its tools, we must acknowledge this and act as catalysts in our communities and abroad.

Having said this, I would like to argue that Web 2.0 is a merely a stepping stone -- and an important one at that -- to addressing and solving the issues faced by the global women's empowerment movement. While our voices, in the grand scheme of the world's population of women, are few, I would like to believe that they are strong and united.

I will continue to share my thoughts on this issue as they come to me, and look forward to others doing the same.



Cultural Correspondent's picture



Carole's picture

Very wise

I have been reading your dialogue and am very impressed by the direction you chose to end it. It was almost leading to a heated debate which may have turned out very negative.

I think as women we also need to choose our words wisely and not engage into unnecessary arguements. Lets use Web 2.0 to build rather than destroy one another. I understand our cultures are very different but lets embrace the good points and discard the negative ones. Women can only succeed if they are willing to learn best practices, admit their mistakes, share with others and practice humility. Keep up lady.


Cultural Correspondent's picture

I wholeheartedly agree!


You are 110% right. I love the way you have phrased your response: "Build rather than destroy one another...embrace the good points and discard the negative ones..." Wise words, indeed.

Amen to that, Sister!



amelia's picture

Inspiring the global dialogue...

It is so great to see such a rich discussion unfurling on this site. This is evidence of PulseWire realizing its great mission - to connect women and ideas across the globe! I really enjoyed reading your VOF Week 1 assignment; you have a true gift for weaving words together, and as evidenced here, sparking meaningful discussion. I wish you luck on your endeavors, and hope to see your voice continue to incite such great dialogue!


Cultural Correspondent's picture

Thank you, Amelia!

It has been very enriching to read all of the responses I have received since posting my entry. I only write what I know, but, by way of this, have learned so much more about our world and the way various individuals and cultures are inhabiting it, and how they are (proactively) utilizing Web 2.0.

Thank you for taking the time to read and write, Amelia.

Best wishes,


I love the way you wrote your journal. While I was reading your journal, I was smilling myself and feeling proud of myself. Yes world pulse has bring together. It show us the path and now its of time to follow our path together with holding our hands. It helped us to laugh, Cry and smile together. I love your conversation with other friends. Keep it up.

With Love

With Love and Regards
Sunita Basnet

Cultural Correspondent's picture

Dhan-ya-vaad, Sunita!


I am so happy that my writing brought a smile to your face and reaffirmed your power as a woman. Making each other feel good has its own merit; when we are confident in ourselves and our abilities, we accomplish that much more!

With love,


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