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...its never that serious its just facebook...really???

I was very excited when I first learnt about face book and wanted to learn how to use it as fast as I could, initially it was about identity: I found myself in an environment where sense of belonging seemed to be a priority and I didn’t want to be left out of conversations especially when “everyone seemed to be moving with the world (very fast)”. I registered on the site with help from the cyber attendant and began to explore the options all by myself. I felt satisfied somehow that I finally belonged to the face book family but I knew I had a long way to go as a far as understanding the network was concerned. When I later became familiar with face book with the help of the cyber attendant and by my own personal effort, I spent my face book hours commenting on posts, uploading photos, sending and accepting friend request, posting, sharing and checking what my friends have been up to. At some point I felt like I was addicted because each time I had a few idle hours, I would rush to the cyber and spend the little coins I had probably saved to buy hours and begin the routine.

Most Cameroonian girls will identify with my story. For the first few weeks face book seems to be like the sun the moon and the stars all wrapped up in one package and first; they want to belong, then they want to spend hours on the forum; commenting on posts, uploading photos, sending and accepting friend request, posting, sharing and checking what their friends have been up to. Yesterday my 11 year old sister was so excited to create a facebook account, she had to lie about her age just to be on facebook and when she succeeded to register, she was all smiles,it was same with my older sister and I and sadly when we get registered nothing seems to be more interseting than the long hours we spend on trhe forum doing less than we should really be doing.

A few days ago I put the question to some 19 friends of mine on face book “what do Cameroonian girls do on face book?”, and I was not very surprised with the responses I got but I was disappointed. Some girls were proud to say that they come to check the comments their boyfriends have been putting on face book, while others said they were simply fulfilling their civic duty. (https://www.facebook.com/ngobesing.neh/posts/688841454495358?comment_id=...)

Cameroonian girls fail to understand that they have a huge potential to make a far greater contribution to the advancement of women just by using social network as a tool for advocacy. I personally created SHE Platform facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/SHE-Platform/275277135957729) to sensitize people on the negative effects of violence against women but surprisingly the women who are supposed to be protecting their rights would hardly comment on this page perhaps because they find it too serious to be on facebook. Sometimes when I try to analyze a post or picture that projects a negative image of the woman folk I am told its never that serious and its just facebook. But is it just facebook? Is it never that serious? It is even sadder when the women themselves are the ones projecting these images and making the negative comments about their fellow woman.

One of the greatest tools which Cameroonian girls can use to empower themselves is Facebook but to most its never that serious.Maybe the girls who are really facing problems and want to talk about it don't have the opportunity to and those who have the opportunity don't have challenges let’s see how it goes…let me explore, I’d be back.

This story was written for World Pulse’s Women Weave the Web Digital Action Campaign. Learn more »

Comments

PohChing's picture

internet

The evolution of communications in the forms of internet social media like facebook, twitter, google +, etc, is changing political scenario in many countries and people are becoming more vocal. Elections are becoming more exciting as they also move into the online arena. In many ways, internet is changing the world.

Hi PohChing,
I think much more will be exciting and the world would be a better place if the social media is used in a better way.Sometimes it goes beyond Just being facebook.Asocial network like facebook that brings together and connects millions of people the world over can really hold them up and push across better ideas.Thanks for supporting the idea.

Ngobesing Linda
The Voice with sound quality
queen of eloquence

Mary S's picture

Hi LIndaThanks for sharing

Hi LInda

Thanks for sharing your experiences with Facebook.

Many people here in the UK also see social media as a place that is just for having fun and keeping up with friends. I agree with you that it can also be a great tool for advocacy and networking with others who share similar interests locally and around the world. Have you joined any of the Facebook pages/groups related to women's rights etc?

I know that many children under the minimum age use Facebook. If you haven't already, it would be a good idea to have a chat with your sister about online safety, privacy settings etc, and to keep an eye on what she shares and who she is chatting with.

Mary

Ngobesing Linda's picture

Thanks for asking

Hi Mary,thanks for asking if i have joined related facebook pages or groups related to Women's rights,I would be delighted to join and spread the word if i can have the links to any of these pages.You may also want to share your story or add you voice to the SHE Platform advocacy campaign on violence against women,you can do that by clicking https://www.facebook.com/pages/SHE-Platform/275277135957729).

Ngobesing Linda
The Voice with sound quality
queen of eloquence

Mary S's picture

Hi LInda Here are some

Hi LInda

Here are some Facebook pages related to womens rights that you could have a look at. There will be hundreds more - the challenge is to find those you find interesting, and where you can tell others about your work.

SayNO - UNiTE to End Violence Against Women
https://www.facebook.com/SayNO.UNiTE

Women Under Siege
https://www.facebook.com/WomenUnderSiege

Safe World for Women
https://www.facebook.com/safeworldforwomen

Women Deliver
https://www.facebook.com/womendeliver

The Pixel Project - It's Time To Stop Violence Against Women. Together.
https://www.facebook.com/ThePixelProject

The Official 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign
https://www.facebook.com/16DaysCampaign

I have joined your Facebook page. Good luck with your project!

Have you got to know any of the other World Pulse members in Cameroon? One person you may like to get in touch with is Leina http://worldpulse.com/user/6565 who is very active in campaigning for women's rights there.

Mary

Ngobesing Linda's picture

THANKS

Thanks a lot Mary.these have been so helpful,i have hit like on some of the pages and i am enjoying what is going on there.It more than inspires me to see the thousands of people who are connecting top these pages and conversing on these facebook groups/pages.I am intrigued and inspired.thanks a lot and God bless you.

Ngobesing Linda
The Voice with sound quality
queen of eloquence

Mary S's picture

You are welcome, glad you

You are welcome, glad you found some of them helpful!

Mary

Tam's picture

Important Ideas

Dear Linda,

You have brought important information forward with your post, allowing us all to think and talk together about the great advantage that the internet brings us as women, and also of the dangers, both in falling into wasting our time, and even more seriously, being vulnerable to harassment.
It is so encouraging to read that you are questioning current uses of Facebook that friends are falling into. Even though they might initially object to your challenge to not waste time, or fall into the habit of just checking what boyfriends have to say about them, they might think about your words, and be inspired by you to use the internet to bring forward their voices as women in a new way, as you have. You describe beautifully how you at first took time to simply enjoy this amazing system to find friends and begin to "move with the world" (I love that phrase). As I read, I celebrated that you were not content to stop with that activity, and continued on to form the SHE Platform, and to encourage new ways of thinking amongst your friends.
The problem of safety is very real as well, and I also, as Mary suggested, hope that you will watch over your young sister and your friends, to stay safe online.
It takes bravery to continue to talk about "negative" subjects like violence against women. I celebrate that you have found World Pulse where all of us are determined to discover ways to use the online network to create a safe and honourable life for all women. I celebrate that you have such strength and determination to act, and that we can be addicted to action online together.

Tam

Ngobesing Linda's picture

Thanks for encouragment

Hi Tam,
Thanks for the encouraging words,those words will keep me moving on.
together we will overcome.

Ngobesing Linda
The Voice with sound quality
queen of eloquence

Giovanna's picture

SHE Platform Page on Facebook

Dear Linda--

When I read about your initial foray into Facebook, this line jumped out at me: "but I knew I had a long way to go as a far as understanding the network was concerned." I'm impressed with the speed in which you went beyond the fun of Facebook, and moved towards dreaming up ways to use it as a tool for connection and exchange of ideas.

You've written such a good reminder of how Facebook can be used to begin conversations and encourage interaction.

I clicked over to your Facebook link for the SHE Platform page and read through some of the posts and comments within. It seems that you've made a good start towards conversation there, as I saw people posting their thoughts and engaging in conversation.

As you say, often "the girls who are really facing problems and want to talk about it don't have the opportunity to and those who have the opportunity don't have challenges." Creating a page where perhaps at least those without the challenges will be shown some of the challenges others face, and begin to think and discuss them, was a good idea.

It's probably true that for many Facebook will remain purely a leisure activity. I applaud your desire to use Facebook to reach and connect with more people, and hope the SHE Platform page will continue that conversation.

Ngobesing Linda's picture

SHE Platform just started.

Thanks for clicking over to my facebook page and analyzing(: SHE Platform will definitely keep the conversation going,she just started but i hope she can inspire more people and create positive change.

Ngobesing Linda
The Voice with sound quality
queen of eloquence

Kika Sylvie Katchunga's picture

Thank you my sister for

Thank you my sister for sharing.
Feel that you have received for the first time when you learned about face book is the same feeling I had as well. LINDA sister you have my support to explore not to mention good luck with your project
was soon on line

sylvie

THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT6 SYLVIE,SUPPORT BINDS US AND BUILDS US.YOU HAVE MY SUPPORT AS WELL.KEEP DOING WHAT YOU DO.

Ngobesing Linda
The Voice with sound quality
queen of eloquence

phoang's picture

Thank you for sharing!

Hi Linda,

Your entry highlights the transformative power of the Internet and social media networks nowadays. I would agree that most people still only see and use it exclusively for connecting with friends and family. They've yet been exposed to the credibility of Facebook as an advocacy pool. Regardless, I am impressed with your persistence to expand the conversation to include more women, and look forward to following the SHE platform. Keep it up!

Phuong

Drpkahn's picture

Not just for fun

Thanks Linda for your comments. You are so right, facebook may seem all lighthearted and fun, but make no mistake, it is a tool that can change the world. If you question that, just consider that all major corporations, marketing, all of them have facebook pages. It is a way to reach out to the world. But as you said, we must make it that tool. Make it more than just "boyfriends" In the past I have seen women ask a challenging question on their page, and you would be surprised at the results. Try it. If your Cameroonian girl friends are on facebook, see what they reply. And if they don't reply, why don't they? Is someone watching their response? Are they scared? facebook is a great way to communicate with other women, but they need to feel safe also.

Thanks so much for sharing!
drpkahn

Ngobesing Linda's picture

Important questions

thanks Dear, for some important questions which have stimulated me to put an even more challenging question to my friends on facebook than the one i put before 'what do Cameroonian girls do on Facebook?' and more importantly thanks for those questions which i will use as a guide to monitor and evaluate the use of facebook by Cameroonian women.I will also use these questions to start a helpful campaign for more women to use social network as a tool for advocacy.With world pulse,am getting back my groove,millions of suggestions and appreciation only keeps me going and builds the esteem that i almost lost to jealousy.Thank you all for bringing out the best in me.

Ngobesing Linda
The Voice with sound quality
queen of eloquence

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