Online Activism: Possibilities and Prospects


I could connect everywhere of the globe in a second, but not my village. Everyday I could use skypee and messenger to see my friends lived outside of Bangladesh, but not able to see my family members, school friends and neighbours living in my village. I could visit Asia, Europe, America, Africa, Arctic, the moon and my villages also within few minutes using google earth, but my friends never get these opportunities. I could enjoy my time, but could not share these with my childhood friends. Everyday, I talk about agriculture, rural economy, indigenous knowledge etc  in different meetings and seminars and discuss about development. But I could not discuss these issues with my family and friends who are lived at rural areas engaged in agriculture!

Realising this context, anybody find only difficulties rather opportunities on online activism. But I feel hopeful while I see, a lot of people, in Bangladesh also expresses their own opinion in different social network sites like Somewhereinblog, prothom alo blog, mukto-mona, wordpress, blogger etc! Facebook, a great tools of social network is popular in Bangladesh. I also get return back of some friends due to facebook. With all the limitations, I find, people particularly the youth are becoming more optimistic about welfare of common people who have not access in online world.

Only two years ago, I created this blog and just updated it with only news which fulfilled my needs to prepare my write-up on different issues. Later I found some opportunities to use this blog as social mobilisation tools and I started to post some articles in some selected areas related to my work. But I couldn’t able to reach the people, but I found from my dashboard (control panel) that more and more people visiting my blog everyday.

As a social worker, I have always try to connect people as much as possible. But the blog gave me the opportunities to connect the global people, but I found a great limitation to connect my own people through this blog. I found a great possibility of online activism through participating at different forum through online; but not able to use these possibilities for my own people who are living in the remote villages. So, I searched way to create an opportunity for my own people whose for I work. Discussing with friends, I planned to develop a telecentre at remote areas; mobile technologies enhanced the possibilities to create an opportunity.

But problem is there also; I found again that people, particularly youths are more interested to chat with others as per their own interest rather uses the internet technology for serving the interest of lives and livelihood; so I tried to organise the youths in colleges and universities and started to conduct study circles through creating a bangla blog. A few youths showing interest to join in discussion and together we planned to use these social networking sites as alternative media. For these reason, now we are organising the youths at rural areas through founding clubs, associations and asked them to join with us through using internet from cyber cafe and mobile phone. Journey is started and I dream, my friends and families from my villages connects me at early of the morning, at noon, at afternoon, evening and also after mid-night through a telecentre where rural youths will be become as a social entrepreneur  to provide the services to my villagers.

I also dream, my villagers are taking part in discussion on agriculture, rural employment, rural economy at the blog  and together we are acting as pressure group to formulate public policy to protect live and livelihood of rural people. Together we will build another world! A Knowledge Based Society through online activism. Do you mean! Just join with us!

Ashoka: Innovators for the Public are hosting Tech 4 Society, a conference exploring technology, invention and social change, in Hyderabad, India, in February 2009. Find out more about the conference here. This blog post is an entry in their competition to find the official blogger to travel to and cover the event.

Online Activism: Possibilities and Prospects

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