Social Media proves we are not in Post-Racial America

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Everyone knows Peter Parker, who is behind the mask of the Amazing Spider man.  If you know anything about the comic book, you would have heard that the Green Goblin killed Peter Parker.  By now you heard that Miles Morales replaced Peter Parker, who is now Spider-man in the series the “Ultimate Spider-Man (although Peter Parker still lives in the “Amazing Spider-man” series).

The most prominent information readily available about Miles Morales is that he is half-black and half-hispanic.  After spending an hour of searching for details of the new Spider-Man’s personal background (since I want to know about his character as per MLK Jr.’s dream), all I see are the peoples reaction that he is of mixed race.

When the story broke, it burned like wildfire through the social media world.  Facebook, Twitter, and all the comment sections of various news sources has some sort of commentary from readers that lie on two extremes: Full support and full outrage.    However, the point of this is very simple. Social media is going to be (it already is?) the litmus test of where we stand on our cultural values.   When a story like this breaks and many people share their views (especially anonymous racist commentary) about the fact that he is half-black and half-hispanic rather than his personal background and his character, it proves we have work to do.

The second point is that Social Media has helped me see that there is still a national issue of race in this society.  Regardless of where you stand, we can use social media to have discussions on a variety of issues in a proactive fashion and not a myopic reaction to news. So what other conversations are we not having that may take form on Social Media?

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Update to Planking? Why?!?….OWLING!!!

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I convinced my GI Joe to Plank!

Update:  Since I am not a fan of “meme” (a piece of content like images, videos, passed along the internet in a viral fashion)  like planking,  I am intrigued at the fact that a good friend showed me that I am actually outdated to the more “sophisticated” (?) form of owling.

More than likely you have found out that people are Planking.   According to Wikipedia (where else am I going to find information about this),  “Planking or the lying down game is an activity consisting of lying face down in an unusual or incongruous location. The hands must touch the sides of the body and having a photograph of the participant taken and posted on the internet is an integral part of the game.”

The reason?  Because it is ridiculous and apparently its more interesting to watch than standing by a monument and smiling for the camara.

BBC.co.uk wrote an interesting article about planking and how in one case, led to a young man’s death (he was on a balcony and well…fell down).

You can rank planking on the level of flash mobs where people assemble in public places to do some sort of dance or coordinated activity and then disperse.   Even Fox has a show called Mobbed, based on this premise.

On the one hand, it can been seen as extremely pointless as more people would engage in planking than voting in an election.  On the other, it unites people in their sharing of a common activity, even if just to entertain themselves.

I am not as into my camera to engage in planking, but I don’t mind allowing my GI Joe to do it (I just have two GI Joes that I keep for memories sake…in case you’re wondering).  What do you think about Planking?   Got any cool planking pictures?

Education Advocate? Follow #SOSMarch this Saturday!

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On a personal level, I have always been for community support of public education.  It is why my clients Paterson Education Fund,  Statewide Education Organizing Committee and T.J.Best for Passaic County are huge education advocates, I really want to see great things happen for ALL our children’s education.  We need more folks to go to board meetings, rally’s and events to advocate for their children.  One such event is the Save our Schools march this Saturday, July 30th, 2011 at 12pm in Washington D.C.

If you can’t get on a bus to join us on the march for our children, you can follow people’s experience by going to twitter and doing a search for the hashtag #SOSmarch (or click on the provided link).  People will post live updates and other followers will continue the conversation about saving our schools.   It would be a great way to get to know other folks passionate about public education in New Jersey and the U.S.   You can also search for #edchat, #bloggermarch, #edreform and you will find many folks posting about this particular march.

Check out my article about learning Twitterese to understand what hashtags are.  *PLEASE NOTE: You can do a search and read the posts and access the articles shared without a Twitter account.  However, you cannot engage in the conversation without a Twitter account.   The conversation is on even as we speak so check it out!

Screenshot of the search results for #SOSmarch

Organize your friends once and for all!

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Finally herd your friends together all at once


Don’t you wish you can get all your friends organized?  You know, having your family together all in one place at the same time.  How about friends from college or high school friends for a reunion?  Do you want to engage in a discussion with your liberal friends without angering your conservative friends (and vice versa)? This is possible by organizing your Facebook friend lists.

Using friend lists will allow you to post to specific groups when you want.  You can use it to create privacy settings for people and even see the status updates of specific groups of people in your recent news.    Essentially, you can separate what each group can see when you post and get updated on what specific groups are doing.

Minor drawback is that you cannot create specific friend list on Facebook fan pages and group pages and putting your friends into list can be a tad tedious.  However, once you create the lists (you can take your time, 10 friends a night), you will have complete control over who sees what and when.

Here are the screenshots of how you can make this happen.

In your home page, click on the friends link.


Then click on Manage Friend List

Then click on Create List

That is all.  Easy Breezy.    Give it a try by sending a status update to a specific group of people or click on Recent News above the status update bar and you can view the updates of specific groups as well.

Mobile and Online Tools Launch Paterson Local to WNBA All Star Game

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Congratulations to Essence Carson, a Paterson, NJ native who thanks to great friends and supporter, was launched to the WNBA All Star Game as a Starter representing the Eastern Conference.   I bring this up because I voted for her via text message sent by Councilman Benjie Wimberly’s Facebook profile page.  He used his Facebook page and text list to spread the word that we Paterson locals had to send a text in support of Essence Carson.   This surely motivated many others to follow his lead in pushing Essence Carson to even greater heights to her professional success. Not to mention all the people she connected with throughout her career.  However, I am fully aware that Essence Carson’s incredible talent is 95% responsible for this accomplishment.

I have to admit, I don’t watch the WNBA (actually I am not into professional basketball except attending an occasional game). However, seeing and supporting a local player get to the professional level is inspirational.  Not only for me, but for our young girls who may have dreams of reaching the top in their respect fields.  However, Essence Carson would not reach such a level of success without the support of her family and community that nurtured her talent.  As for reaching the 2011 WNBA All Star game, people sending texts “Carson” to 69622 really helped her reach the extra mile.

The overarching theme: social media and mobile tools made a difference in the community.  In this case,  Paterson, NJ has a daughter that is in the WNBA All Star Game!   Text messaging and posting updates in your established online community provided a shining star that local community leaders can point to when motivating our youth.  Good Stuff!

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