Earlier today, I met with several students at Addis Ababa University to discuss the opportunities and challenges they face in their academic and professional lives.
One of the biggest challenges we have here on the Internet is hearing marginalized and underrepresented voices, especially those across the digital divide. You can’t amplify voices online that aren’t online.
While all of the young people I talked to used the Internet and most had regular access via a tablet, smartphone, or laptop, none had blogs or tumblrs or YouTube channels, and none had social network interactions with people outside their IRL social networks. I’m sure there are English-language tumblrs from Ethiopian students (although I haven’t been able to find any today), but almost all voices—even highly educated and privileged ones—from the world’s poorest countries go completely unheard online.
(And when we do hear them, it’s usually through an intermediary: videos edited by someone else, transcripts of interviews, etc. It’s not direct participation in the conversation by, for instance, posting to tumblr or reblogging HIMYM gifs. [The students I spoke to agreed that HIMYM is the best American show they have on TV, although a couple said that watching TV was a waste of time and a distraction from studying, to which I said HAVE YOU SEEN PHINEAS AND FERB BECAUSE IT IS TOTALLY EDUCATIONAL.])
Anyway, all of this is a long preamble to say: Earlier today I met with a 20-year-old law student who helped found an organization in Ethiopia devoted to empowering women and ending gender-based violence. (I’ll include her talking about her work in a video soon.)
The organization does fundraisers so the poorest women at the university can have access to contraception, and every year they have a Blood Drive for Mothers, where many students donate blood to combat maternal death. (Post-partum hemorrhaging is a too-common cause of death among Ethiopian women.)
We often think of global charity as people from rich countries giving money to people from poor countries. But the real story is much more complicated (and much more exciting!); we just don’t hear those stories often, because organizations like the one founded by the young woman I met don’t have YouTube videos or tumblrs.
Okay, this might be a dumb question, but…why don’t they have blogs? If they have access to the internet, surely making a Tumblr is a simple process that would directly get their voice out there?
Am I missing something obvious?
"There’s no 3G coverage (as of yet) and mobile data is so terrible that it’s barely good enough to check your email. Watching a youtube video on a smartphone is unthinkable. Good internet access for your home is way too expensive to be affordable. You have a chance if you’re a university student because most of the universities here have free WiFi, but the hotspots are limited and you have to actively seek them out (which is what I do once or twice a week, to keep up with the world). And I don’t think most university students think it’s worth their time to REGULARLY seek WiFi hotspots so they can re blog stuff on tumblr."
My own experience is that even on the best university wifi networks, tumblr takes FOREVER to load (like several minutes for a single page), so there’s no way to load your dash (unless it’s all text) and posting usually fails. It’s just very different interacting with the Internet when your download and upload speeds are slower than dial up.
It’s pretty easy to forget that access to the internet is part of the privilege we have in America. Though our access is controlled by corporations with questionable, well everything, for the most part we can connect without worry of quality or reliability. I’m sure someone is hitting reblog right now to talk about server unreliability and statistics of availability of broadband in rural areas but that’s just arguing semantics. I once met a homeless guy with an iPhone before I had one and I knew an undocumented worker who had broadband in his apartment so I don’t think we can really complain about access when we have an infrastructure already in place.
Now, why don’t we take all the angry energy and point it toward a viable solution to getting broadband internet to the poorest parts of the world so people whose voices are worth hearing can be heard? I would honestly like to find a way to give attention to these voices because 1. I am very sure they are saying things worth hearing and 2. I am sure they have valid arguments about which Doctor is better, 10, 11, or 12.
Things the Israel/Palestine conflict is about
- Land use
Things the Israel/Palestine conflict is not about
Damn son. So uber religious American, can we stop quoting the bible about this please? Since that’s isn’t even a part of this? Thanks.
This is important to know. As we evolve, so does our external reality.
I needed to hear this today. I feel I have out grown everything where I am.
I guess it’s time to move on.
First ever apple pie. I make no promises about how well this turned out. I’ll tell you in the morning when I have pie for breakfast. #ILovePie #IDoWhatIWant
In which I meet my friend P’s friend S.
S: Just to warn you, my dog might not like you. She has an issue…
Me: With strangers?
S: Not exactly
P: With brown people.
S: Yeah, my dog doesn’t like minorities
Me: *Uncontrollable uncomfortable laughter*.
Forgot to take a picture of the Duck Fried Rice. Also, I had the spicy yellowtail, smoked salmon, and shrimp sushi. @youdidnoteatthat you should know I totally ate all of that and it was delicious! (at Japonais by Morimoto)
This is not about truth and justice, this is about making money. That is the American way. - my dad after me saying I have to buy a shake from Fred & Jack’s because of their Famous Shakes sign.
"why dont you just give him a chance"
idk because im not physically or mentally attracted to him and ‘but he likes you’ or ‘but hes really nice’ isnt going to change the fact that im not interested
Damn, I don’t think women know how much that really hurts
you know what else hurts?????????? getting abused for being a ‘bad person’ because you didnt want to date somebody that you werent interested in
I’m confused as to why a woman would have to give up on her expectations/time/dreams just because a guy is interested in her when she has zero or less than zero interest in him. Why do we have these expectations of women but not men? Rarely do I hear of a guy being pressured into going on a date with a girl he has zero interest in and even then he would expect some kind of sexual favor for his time.
Guys, don’t get your feelings hurt if a girl turns you down, she wasn’t meant for you.