VOF Week 1: (Change in cyberspace)
In a pool of 400 and more journal entries; all of which happen to be centered around one topic, my experience with Web 2.0 must be much like many of the other participants who have shared their work on this domain. Yet, like everyone else, it is unique because of my aspirations, the thought process that I ascribe to and the environment, of which I am a product. I am an aspiring journalist/ performing artiste/filmmaker and human rights activist amongst other passions of my life and traditionally speaking whilst I am not ‘there’ yet as a professional, I have been able to start my journey on various fronts and even make my voice heard occasionally because of the several opportunities that the world of Web 2.0 presents.
This is what fascinates and excites me. Although clichéd, the ability to transcend borders and connect with like minded people on so many levels without any barriers. While, being a part of the internet generation has not left me enamored or taken over my sensibilities completely; the potential and ability to deliver positive change is what has me glued. My initial experience on Web 2.0 were based around signing petitions for causes that I found worthwhile, debating ideas and issues on forums, forging friendships and writing articles for online magazines - which I used as credit for an internship course during my undergraduate study. However, it is the developments of the past 2-3 years, which has made me appreciate this tool even more.
To give an example; the movement for the restoration of judiciary in Pakistan, saw not only lawyers and civil rights activists step up but also students who adopted political activism once again. And this revolution of sorts took place in cyber space. Be it blogs or groups on face book; this was where information was passed around, last minute notices sent to organize protests; photographs, videos and petitions circulated and efforts made to rally citizens. I, too formed a group and though based outside, was able to connect with students active in the movement, spread information and do a little of my share, just by being online. All of which has now translated into change on the ground.
In the same vein, if one focuses on the dimension of women’s empowerment, Web 2.0 has the capacity to revolutionize situations and the implementation of various concepts. A great example of this is the Rafiki club (World Pulse). The fact that a member has the opportunity to connect with women in rural Kenya and be a part of their learning process, without even meeting is truly incredible. Virtual classrooms, documenting issues and creating awareness, networking on a global level, shattering myths and developing a better understanding of human realities are all examples of what women can work with in this realm. The buck does not stop at the exchange of ideas or resources. It only signals the beginning of something larger, tangible and yet intangible in value with a global impact.