The following was submitted as my first assignment of three I had to complete before being selected as a WorldPulse Voices of the Future 2011 Correspondent:
A thunderstorm starts with just one drop of water.
Once upon a time, information was a luxury owned by a privileged few.
Once upon a time, news was something prepared and packaged
exclusively in a formal newsroom by a few individuals.
Once upon a time, a woman had to take her story, give it to a man,
and ask him to tell it for her, hoping he would tell it right, praying
he would paint her in the right light, use the right brushes, give the
right shades and textures - but it can be so hard to tell another
Even with the very best intentions, there is always room for error.
But a thunderstorm starts with just one drop of water.
Web 2.0 revolutionised global communication. These new, convenient
methods of sharing information broke traditional media’s monopoly on
information. For me, web 2.0 embodies two concepts: transparency and
diverse story-telling. Where once, all I heard and saw were the views of
a limited few who could manipulate information to create the impression
they wanted to give, I can now literally hear the world talking; and
share and celebrate its diversity everyday. If life is, as Helen Keller
said, a series of lessons that must be lived to be understood, then web
2.0 affords people everywhere the opportunity to freely and easily learn
from and understand each other.
Of course, with great knowledge comes great responsibility. Web 2.0
is only as positively effective as each user makes it – the beauty of
that statement being that power no longer lies with a few brokers at the
top of an unjust pyramid. It now rests in the hands of each citizen.
Because a thunderstorm starts with just one drop of water.
For women, web 2.0 has special significance. In a world where media
is still dominated by the voices of men, with most information still
molded from a male-oriented viewpoint, we are empowered to assert our
stories, own our voices, and speak the truths that only we can know.
Through web 2.0, women have formed, and continue to form, a strong
global collective. We can now combine shared stories, shared voices,
shared experiences and shared support.
I’ve learnt that each human being has a story, and a voice. With web
2.0, each individual gets an outlet for self-expression. Each woman can
tell her story her way.
Today, I blog.
Today, I own my story.
Today, I own my voice.
And when I log on to the net, sign in, network, I hear diverse voices
rising, swelling, swirling … creating a maelstrom of dynamic
revolutionary, cross-cultural transformation. Sometimes, an act as
simple as story-telling can have an impact that lasts for generations.
I am just one drop of water.
You are one.
Together, we are over two billion strong.
Now that’s a thunderstorm.