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VOF Week 1: A whole new world

I felt like Princess Jasmine in Disney’s Aladdin, as I was rather forcefully introduced to what I now know is Web 2.0… a whole new world was before me, new fantastic points of view, with new horizons to pursue. It was 2006 and I was thrust into making a presentation on Web 2.0 at a workshop when a resource person had to suddenly pull out. I had to figure it out – and fast!

As I have come to realise, the web, in all its incarnations, offers something for everyone. And I think that as the web became more interactive, participatory and inclusive (i.e. hello Web 2.0!), we – the consumers of this media – became more selective. Many of us have joined networks, online forums, activity sites etc that we never visit anymore. I had to decide, Facebook or Twitter or both? My Space or YouTube or more thematic video sites, like Witness? The choices, the vast buffet of web 2.0, can often be overwhelming.

And that’s why I think the benefits, advantages and the immense “pro’s” of Web 2.0 can only be defined by each user. While it has the potential to be inclusive, allow more immediate dialogue and interaction, undreamt-of networking opportunities and a platform for every voice, from anywhere – it doesn’t necessarily mean the full potential is used by everyone, everywhere, all the time.

While the social interaction and networking have been perhaps the most popular feature of the Web 2.0 phenomenon, it has given new life and a much needed shot of adrenalin to those of us working on social issues – including those working for women’s empowerment. It provides a platform for all voices to have an equal say, and it also provides anonymity which has brought out so many real stories that are the most moving, most empowering voices in our midst. It helps us share our information, access other’s information, and to band together in like-minded networks.

Unfortunately, the web has not levelled the playing field, provided access to all, or any of the other sugary nonsense that gets bandied about by those pushing “ICT for all”. The voiceless are still those without access to the web. The marginalised are still on the outside looking in. But as the technology spreads, access gets cheaper and the web becomes an accepted tool for “the masses”, I believe it can one day be a tool for everyone who wants it.

As for me, I’ve waded in and am loving it! I can have my say, I can take action on issues happening on other continents, I can watch and laugh, I can read and learn, and I can be me. I’ve only selected a few items from the web 2.0 buffet, and while I’ve spat out some samplings, many have become favourite dishes.

So, like Princess Jasmine on her magic carpet, I can only say : I'm like a shooting star, I've come so far, I can't go back to where I used to be….

word count: 497 words


Maria de Chirikof's picture

not alone

I am hopeful that soon it will be more accessible but know many place do not want this so we really will need to find the ways to do it and reach the ones who need it most. I think it really helps woman to know that they are not alone in some of their feelings. That others have been there themselves or just truly care about them. This can make a huge difference in how a woman sees herself and help her better her world.

I agree, it does feel like that Princess Jasmine song, and with the web we can be both Jasmine discovering new things and Aladdin telling her 'dont you dare close your eyes...' and this is the great part about this.


Manori's picture

Not alone

Hi Maria

Thanks for this comment. I cant agree with you more - the realisation that you're not alone, that there are others in similar situations with very similar experiences can be so liberating no? And of course, the web also provides solutions, it gives real life answers (most of the time, with some searching, of course!) so that you dont have to suffer silently either.

Just wish more women had access to the net, and language wasnt an issue... but wishing it doesnt make reality change, unfortunately!


Rachelle_W's picture

VOF Week 1

Hi Manori-

I loved reading your essay. I like that you still point out some of the drawbacks on the web--language, everyone doesn't have access, etc. While Web 2.0 is great, it's certainly not perfect!

I would love to hear more about how you've used it in your work and the place that a site like PulseWire takes in the "buffet" of Web 2.0 offerings...

Best regards,


Manori's picture

all about me...


Thanks for your feedback.

I'm actually struggling to reduce my assignment for week 2 into 500 words!! i think its easier to get on my soap box & be opinionated about others, but far less clear when it comes to writing about myself!!

Better get back to it... just realised the deadline is near!


Margot's picture

Good work!

Hi Manori!

My name is Margot and I am one of your listeners for the VOF project. I really enjoyed reading your first essay and I am so excited to read week 2's assignment from you! I loved how you used personal experiences to convey your excitement about web 2.0 and how also touched on the realities and limitation of web 2.0 in relationship with limited access for so many women around the world. I can see by reading your words that you have an excellent grasp of both the opportunities and limitations of web 2.0. Looking forward to hearing more about how you personally use web 2.0 in the next assignments.

Thanks for sharing!


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