By Fakiha Hassan Rizvi
Thanks to Tim O’Reilly for influencing our lives with the dynamic, interactive and connected version of website (Web 2.0). The one you are reading now (www.thevoiceofyouth.com), Google (our ultimate source of searching out almost anything even if we know about it already) and life is incomplete without social interest networks like Facebook. Digital natives from around the world are e-connected. We are enjoying the off shoots of a much complex and interwoven nexus. An endless pit of cyberspace, but why a pit?
It wouldn’t have been if the experts around the world would have sketched out a definite plan for creating ‘uniform digital access’. The participatory approach works when there is an equal opportunity for everyone to participate. Imagine yourself among the friendly Chinese natives and try using Google or any other search engine. After a certain time interval these pleasant-looking members of police force will pop out with a not-so-pleasant message ‘Your online activities are being monitored!’ There are certain web pages and directories that cannot be accessed while browsing in China. There is an ‘information-communication divide’ (they have access to technology and information, but it is not being communicated to them). On the other hand, we saw Tweets from ‘Tahrir square’ embracing Egypt and pulling down the throne of a stern autocrat: ‘Hosni Mubarak’. Established democracies like the United Kingdom are worried about their cyber security. On monthly basis the international mainstream media inform about the viruses being created to specifically target Iranian Nuclear Programme.
Like all movements in the world, there are ‘goodies’ and ‘spoilers’ in the digital galaxy. It’s about gaining new weapons for achieving old targets in a covert way. Following what Martin Luther King said, ‘evil in the world is not due to ‘bad people’, but due to the appalling silence of ‘good people’. Digital natives aren’t acquainted with these anonymous rebellious Cyber movements, especially in the developing countries. Similar to the literacy rates that gauge the progress of any nation, ‘internet and media literacy’ are likely to gauge the survival of nations in the coming years. You have to be a part of this, yes, but for a good reason as well! Depending upon your circle of influence, small positive steps reinforcing each other can count. ‘Staying informed is a pre-requisite for staying connected’. I have tried to explain ‘why’. You can enjoy the off shoots, without forgetting to act as a responsible Netizen (a citizen with online presence, striving for prominence).