Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Creating A Thunderstorm 2 Billion (Women) Strong

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 person’s truth.
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.