"VOF Week 1: (Nairobi, Dublin, Seoul, and Sydney Before 10am)"
It was just another lazy Sunday morning. I stumbled out of bed, clumsily put the coffee on, and plopped down at the kitchen table with my lap top. Before I could finish rubbing the sand out of my eyes, I was web chatting with one of my best friends in London (web cam turned off for reasons pertaining to bedhead). After perusing my favorite blogs for my morning dose of international political updates, I Skyped with friends and business contacts in Nairobi, Dublin, Seoul, and Sydney. I was in touch with people on four continents other than my own before I was out of my pajamas. Its one of the things that excites me most about Web 2.0: Though the issues we face as international activists are of epic proportions, the world is actually quite small... and getting smaller. Web 2.0 empowers individuals like myself with the tools to reach across oceans and spark a dialogue with individuals across the world, and all before 10am.
Web 2.0 provides women with the tools to ignore geographical, social, and economic boundaries and in a few clicks be a force in the world around them. Thanks to Facebook, individuals can be associated with friends and networks in countries across the globe; a chance to experience new perspectives, build movements, and start conversations. With the rise and prevalence of blogs and Twitter, anyone can be a citizen journalist. In fact, it was individuals on Twitter that first broke the Mumbai terrorist attack last November. Within seconds, the West was not only connected to a breaking story in the East, but we were given moment to moment updates.
For as long as I can remember I have been consumed with the notion of helping individuals find their voice. Web 2.0 does just that; its an opportunity to be plugged in to the world around you. This is particularly significant to the women's empowerment movement. Women have traditionally been excluded from historical processes. While men have authored much of history, crediting themselves with solving international conflicts and authoring peace processes, women have been left out of the story, tasked with the much less sexy duty of rebuilding families and communities. With Web 2.0, women have the opportunity to tell their own stories, to talk about how they're shaping the world around them and making the world a better place, and to share best practices and lessons learned. Every woman can be heard. Every woman is connected. The world is our audience. Its inter-connectivity at its best and a tool we should embrace.