Social Media: An Opportunity for the Black Community
How are you getting your news?
Do you watch one or more of the abundant offerings of news programs on TV? Are you one of the few remaining listeners of news radio?
All of these are still considered sources of news – However, social media has demonstrated itself as being the growing source of news for people in this country.
Not only are interested spectators getting their news from places like Facebook, Twitter, or even YouTube – they are also finding out about things that many of the major news sources are not reporting.
When Oscar Grant was fatally shot by BART police officer Johannes Mehserle in Oakland, California on New Year’s Day in 2009, the incident was captured on multiple digital video and cell phones cameras – this is an example of how the use of social media has encouraged the common folk to become “citizen journalist.” Many consider that to be citizen journalism at it’s finest.
The questions beg to be asked – would this incident have been reported to the public in a timely manner? How would it have been reported to the public? Would Oscar Grant have been made to look at fault without the capturing of such a damning video for the BART police officer?
This made it to social media before it hit the news stations.
This is but one example of how social media influenced major news and press attention into a case simply to cash in on the ratings.
More importantly, social media has been known for giving a voice to the voiceless – and one of the largest communities that it has had in impact on is no doubt the black community.
The shooting of 17-year old Trayvon Martin circulated the web via social media – in many cases, it circulated for weeks before it could get the attention of the press when people who surf the web were already enraged by the violence committed against a kid walking home with nothing but a bag of Skittles and iced tea through a rich and predominantly white neighborhood – the kind of neighborhood where a young black boy wearing a hooded sweater would stand out like a sore thumb – particularly, to one man with an amped sense of paranoia and a gun.Continued on the next page