Sunday, February 26, 2012

Social Media, Your Toy or Your Tool?


SOCIAL MEDIA, Your Toy or Your Tool?: A Question for the African American Community – A Thought for the World Community  
By Henry Ford

As I read a recent review of Social Media Week in Toronto (Feb 13-17), I was impressed by the content of the valuable information shared during one of the panel discussions.  The panel lineup included the powerhouse lineup of Sam Graham-Felsen, Chief Blogger for Obama for America, Aliza Licht, SVP of Global Communications for DKNY, Sam Champion, Weather Anchor for ABC's "Good Morning America", Kelly Balz, North America Social Media Manager for Avon, and Kristine Welker, Chief Revenue Officer of Hearst Digital. 

The panel lineup also took me back in time to the mid nineteen seventies when I first attended a conference of the National Association of Investors.  There was no representation of African Americans on most panels (and almost none in the audience).  This is not a condemnation but an observation.  African Americans were not locked out, but they had “sat out,” not purposely or in any organized fashion or for any reason, but they just were not there, except for me and about ten others at a conference of over 500.  That’s not a condemnation either, but another observation.

The reality is that trends that connect, educate, and empower often escape the majority of African Americans for too long.  How long?  Too Long!  That is an observation also, one that I attribute in part to the social and professional circles we tend to operate within.  Often we are so tuned in to what we perceive to be the upper limit or the “What is,” that we cannot embrace The Dream, The Vision, The Possibilities.

The Investment Education Movement took many more years to find its way into the African American Community than it needed to, denying so much to so many, and negatively impacting generations to come.  Today two of the movements in danger of taking place without us are those of Technology and Social Media.  It should not happen, it does not need to happen, and we cannot afford to let it happen.  There is enough African American presence on the Internet, Facebook, and other platforms to convince me that we are well represented.  The question is will we incorporate into our Social Media agenda, the education that can help us bridge gaps in technology, education, business, and help enhance our personal and professional development?

One of the powerful eyes, ears and contributors to the Social Media scene is a dynamic, informed and personable young lady by the name of Shirley Williams.  A bright light on the Social Media scene, Shirley is an internationally recognized Social Media expert that can help us understand and narrow the gaps that so desperately need closing.  A bonus in following Shirley is that she freely shares with others without targeting any specific group; but absorbs, evaluates and contributes, touching lives in over 160 countries.  Her openness allows valuable information to flow, leaving her objectivity unobstructed by special interests, and keeping her credibility impeccable.

If you have any serious intent of allowing Social Media to powerfully impact your life and your business, you can follow Shirley at http://socialmediapearls.wordpress.com/.

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