Sunday, June 6, 2010

Why African Americans Must Use Twitter and Facebook Beyond Entertainment

A few weeks ago a report came out revealing that African Americans appear to spend a disproportionate amount of time on social networking sites such as facebook and twitter. Let me preface this edition of The Critical Thinker by saying that I truly want to see all people of all races progress and do well in life; in fact, it’s one of the reasons I surface the topics that I do in The Critical Thinker. I want us all to THINK!! It’s one of the reasons I created the Critical Thinker to begin with. However, as an African American, like anyone else, I pay particularly close attention to what impacts my heritage and background. This does not diminish or take away from any other ethnic group, but again, like anyone else I have a vested interest in what happens to and about my ethnic group which happens to be African American. If I were Irish and born with this same mindset, I would be the same way; the same holds true for if I were born Latino, Caucasian, Asian or any other ethnicity with the mindset that I have.

I say all of that to say, that if the issues I write about tends to be targeted towards or about African Americans, the message can be applied to anyone regardless of their background. Now back to African Americans seemingly using social networks more than other group. Facebook and Twitter are awesome TOOLS if intelligently used. I say intelligently because I would be willing to gamble that the majority of the usage by African Americans that the report is referring to is for entertainment purposes. As African Americans, we must move beyond the entertainment value of dynamic tools such as Facebook and Twitter and use them for our betterment both educationally and financially. The same holds true for the television or the computer. We have to do more than just look to be made to laugh, crack jokes, curse, show off our pictures (because we are so stuck on ourselves), track who is screwing who (both literally and figuratively), and all of the other mindless activities that really don’t matter. Interestingly enough, similar studies have found that African Americans watch more television than any other group. What are we (African Americans) doing during all of these hours of watching television, being on Facebook , and being on Twitter? If we are mindlessly using these tools as passive activities to slowly suck the life out of our brains, then shame on us. If they are nothing more than brain drains, then once again, shame on us.

I must admit, I really had nothing for Facebook and Twitter to do until I realized how they could be used to help me improve myself and promote my radio show. Through these two tools I have been able to do everything from book guest authors on my show to ascertaining a commencement speaker for my school’s eighth grade graduation. Once I figured out the value of these sites beyond entertainment, I was hooked. I also use these mediums as another way to educate others. My postings are not just about what a good time I had at a barbecue, but are about educational items of interest that followers and friends may not have known or may have their curiosity piqued to the point of wanting to find out more about the topic. I also look for postings that are educational. Both Facebook and Twitter can be wonderful educational tools; however, just like TV and the internet, it will become a haven for passivity instead of challenge if not used wisely. (Hey this is the Critical Thinker; what do you want?) Everything we do cannot be just about entertainment. It amazes me the lengths we will go to for entertainment. As I make my away around the city, I am stupefied at how many satellite dishes can hang on a roof that is in deep disrepair. “I don’t have roof, but I have cable or dish TV.” How pathetic is that? I am not knocking entertainment per se, however, a balance must be struck and in too many instances reports are coming out that African Americans are out of balance and are too heavily weighted on the entertainment side with the scale hanging in the air on the educational or intellectual side. That is why Bill Cosby’s Pound Cake Speech (See Critical Thinker Pound Cake Anyone?) is so critical and so true. I am sure there will be those who will be more than willing to give me flak about the commentary I have made with this entry, but once again, I do not care. We will not move forward until enough of us are willing to take a stand and call things for what they are. We must call a spade a spade (no pun intended). We cannot keep making excuses for African Americans being down (or for any group for that matter). We have the tools to make things happen if we use them in an intelligent, efficient and effective manner. In 2010 we can get in touch with anyone anywhere in the world and in many cases regardless of how much of a celebrity he/she is or thinks he/she is; he/she will respond back. I have been able to contact the rich and the famous through Facebook and Twitter to take care of business; not just follow who is with who this week and their latest escapades. We must learn to maximize the many tools that we have at our disposal and stop wasting time on meaningless chatter and gossip. As always, I welcome your thoughts in the comment section of the blog.

1 comment:

Abigail-Madison Chase said...

I am always intrigued by reports like this. We are only 12%of the population and most reports say we have less internet connectivity then most folks. I don't belive that report.

That being said I like your topic. If the report is right or not if we on it we should use it for good.

It get inboxed from people all the time that take exception with my postings. I often say if crime stopped then I would not post.

I do think we have a unique oppourtunity to use it for good.