Aaron Olds – The Power of Social Media
BY: Aaron Olds
What is social media? If you google ‘what is social media’ it will tell you “websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking”. In other words, social media is a tool for its possessor to reach the people he or she desires, a tool that can either make or break our society.
Black people are quite familiar with social media, per The Pew Research center, 73% of African Americans use the internet and of that 73%, 96% are between the ages 18-29 and use social networking sites. We use popular social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and the most popular among blacks, Twitter. We spend a lot of time on or near our smartphones. Per the article Social Media & Social Consciousness: 2013 in Review, by Jesse Muhammad, Smartphone users average about 132 minutes a day using their phone, 79% have their phone on or near them for 2 hours while awake and 62% reach for it as soon as they wake up.
We are always on social media searching…what is the content that we look at, who do we follow, who do we connect with, what do we share, who follows us. Since twitter is the most popular site among blacks, I’ll use twitter as an example. Twitter is where you get to share your thoughts, feelings, videos, photos, etc. When I get on my account, I like to follow friends and popular accounts like WordStar Hip Hop, black twitter, bleacher report and No Chill Sports. I often retweet funny pictures and funny videos, something that I can relate to or something I feel other people will like to see as well. When I scroll down my time line and news feed, I see a lot of content that is entertaining. Then I see videos of fights, the latest meme trends, ridiculous arguments and gossip about celebrities…bringing nothing beneficial to society.
Twitter has such an expansive use from black people. Instead of filling our minds with negativity and distractions, we should use it to help our people grow in business, consciousness, knowledge and build a strong connection within our society. For example, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan called on the youth, student ministers, believers, and supporters of the Nation of Islam to use social media to create intelligent dialogue on his web broadcasts “The Time and hat must be done.” He had such a great turn out, the many members and non-members of NOI supported his broadcasts on twitter and it trended every time he made a broadcast. During his broadcasts, he answered questions in his #AskFarrakhan Twitter chats, reaching out to the community.
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan is a Great example of how powerful a tool like social media is and that it is a tool that can create to build a better more conscious society. We should follow his example, black people have so much to offer to the world. We should let social media be our tool to build a better society, instead of sharing dumbing-down content. We can grow our businesses, share political views, share important knowledge of world and self and hold intelligent conversations, all while using social media.
It is up to us, as black people, to use social media to make our society better.