VOF Week 1: (Acts of Courage - Web 2.0)
Connection, Visibility, Risk and Growth
These are what come to mind for me when I think of Web 2.0.
The connection lies in the possibilities of friendship, shared experiences and community. It is precious to me because I left my home country ten years ago, and moved to North America. Living in North America is an isolating experience for me. I miss the smells, the sounds and the warmth of the family and friends I grew up with. Although I am passionate about helping women, sometimes I feel a distance from my sisters here and long to work with the women from my home city in India in their struggles. But all this is slowly changing as I start using facebook, read blogs and join projects like PulseWire. I can connect with anyone, anywhere in the world at anytime. I can redefine what connection means to me!
However I must make myself visible to the world. Reading blogs and browsing websites is not what Web2.0 is about. Actively participating in dialogue, reaching out and organizing groups across differences or through similarities, commenting and promoting to our networks are all integral in using this social media technology. This is the part that I am not very good at. The choices one makes in presenting oneself a certain way can say a lot about us. What part of me do I choose to make visible and to what audience? This question has a less complex answer for communities than it has for the individual. Web 2.0 has helped issues and groups of people that were not silenced, disconnected, not visible to one another come out and be counted. Just think of how fast a petition for a socially just cause can gain momentum though blogs, twitter and facebook. Surely, this can only get better, and the vast majority of the women in the world who are still invisible on the worldwide web will soon gain in visibility.
I am probably one of the last to submit my assignment for Week 1. What am I afraid of risking? Writing is a risky act for me. It exposes my raw emotions, it renders my ideas vulnerable to the world, ready to be brought out and examined. For women struggling against global violence, misogyny, poor health outcomes, poverty and other evils, sharing themselves and their work involves a lot of trust in other women. Yet, we know that solely being a woman or a feminist or even someone who works for peace and social justice does not eliminate judgement from each of us. And thus every sharing comes with the risk of betrayal. Witness the deep divide in the feminist blogosphere in North America, for instance, between racialized women and white women.
And yet! Here I am, growing as I write... Challenging myself to finally let my voice speak through this medium... embracing web 2.0 for all it can offer me in my goal to fight gender-based violence.