African Americans; Technology and Social Media
by Sean Jackson (FAMU) and William Jackson, M.Ed.
(Edward Waters College)
The holiday season shows the passion African Americans
have for technology. Cyber Monday was an economic boom
for companies offering online discounts and provide
devices that traditional stores did not have in stock.
According to CNN Cyber Monday was the highest
grossing online shopping day in U.S. history, spending
reached $1.25 billion. An increase over 20% from 2010
and expected to grow even further with the availability
of secured online security,Apps that allow for
shopping directed at a person’s interests and
retailers marketing based on culture, race, gender
African Americans projected economic contribution was
as high as 30% in online buying and the understanding
that Black buying power is expected to reach $1.1 trillion
by 2015, according to State of the African-American
The evidence of the Digital Divide for African Americans
is further declining with Smart Phones and Tablets
leading the way for providing unprecedented access to
online content. Apps (small computer applications)
have grown tremendously offering additional
connectivity using Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 protocols
though traditional media does not admit it, African
Americas are still the highest purchasers of Smart Phones.
The question(s) where/when/will and how Blacks will
Blacks are consumers of these resources, but to build
wealth Blacks need to start being developers of digital tools.
Once again Blacks are taking capital or monies
out of their communities and putting it someplace else.
According to Nielson reports (http://www.nielsen.com/africanamerican)
a. African-Americans use more than double the amount
of mobile phone voice minutes compared to Whites
b. African-Americans send/receive on average 907 text
c. 33% of all African-Americans own a Smart Phone
These statistics are growing as tweens and teens
receive phones this holiday season and mobile
phone providers are offering specials and low
rates formulti-phone purchases and specials
on data bundles.
Technology has opened up the capability for
virtual traveling, ecommerce,political and
religious exchanges and socializing on a
global scale, literally.
No longer are African Americans restricted or confined
from digital access and there is a growing digital social media presence besides Facebook.
African Americans have a presence on Facebook,
Google +, Nings, Youtube, Blog Talk Radio and Tweeting
While Black has grown. Entrepreneurialism
such as Tiffany Duhart’s eblast
http://nokturnalescape.com/ and Facebook
presence http://www.facebook.com/nokturnalescape have
seen great growth because of the information provided
on community events.
Social media sites for Blacks:
BlackFathers.org, BlackBloggersNetwork.com, BloggingWhileBrown.com and
DelawareBlack.com have grown for Black Bloggers.
Caution with Employment
Caution still should be used potential and current
employers are viewing social networking activities
and content. African Americans should be aware that
their content and information may be scrutinized
by employers and potential employers before they
are interviewed for jobs and entrance into higher
Content is creating a f irst impression and first
impressions are always powerful; African Americans
should use this knowledge to be empowered
about what their social presence is saying about
them. Social content can be used as a resume to
highlight knowledge of and proficiency with
technology, the level of professionalism you
display with technology and networking connectivity
to the business world. Networking in sites such
as LinkedIn can display your association with businesses
this can be beneficial by opening doors and create collaborations.
Influence of African Americans
African Americans make technology fun and exciting,
just look at Facebook and Twitter entries.
Tiffany Duhart (http://blinkvirtualbuzz.com/)
tweeted (Why Do Blacks Make Technology Popular?)
take a look for yourself
The use and sometimes misuse of technology is
representative of ingenuity and creativity.
An African American developed the concept of cell phones.
Online information suggests that Jesse Eugene Russell,
an African-American inventor helped create the
technology of cell phones. Mr. Russell trained as
an electrical engineer at
Tennessee State University, recognized globally
as a thought-leader, technology
expert and innovator of wireless communications.
An American legend, in 1995 Russell was inducted
into the National Academy of Engineering for
“pioneering work in digital cellular communications
technology.” This is information youth need to know
to continue to inspire their influence in STEM
Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
Data and Statistics
Nielsen data shows that during July 2011 23.9
million active African-American Internet users and
African-Americans are 30% likely to access online
I can attest to this fact watching my fiancée
Cheryl visit JCPenney, Shoefab, and
other fashion sites getting the best of ecommerce
and establishing a catering business with her
sister Sister2Sister Catering
http://sister2sistercatering.tripod.com/. Since their
web presence their business has grown by 20% and
receiving catering orders throughout Jacksonville,
As parents my fiancée and I our sons respectively
find great deals online through Ebay, Amazon,
Best Buys and other sites looking for electronics
and clothes. My daughter is a true 21st century
teen at 15 yrs, connected to her friends and
family through Facebook and using Apps to video chat
and enjoy music. On a serious note as a divorced
father I keep in contact with my children, being their
Friend on Facebook, through Twitter, Texting and Skypeing.
Divorced or parents in the military or who travel for business find the Internet valuable for communication.
Digital Age of the 21st Century
The age of digital information is an age of moving information
with the “Speed of Thought” Bill Gates;
Business @ the Speed of Thought and George Andersen;
A WikiFocus Book , both books should be read or at
least get the DVD used to learn
about the evolution and application of digital
content for business and education.
In the book “Business At The Speed of Thought”
(Bill Gates); Gates discusses that the life blood
of business and networking is information. As an
instructor at Edward Waters College (Educational
Technology) I try to instill in my students the
use of technology allows people to grow and expand
into learning opportunities, new careers and
educational growth. Social networks, IT
(information technology), content creation,
SoLoMo (Social Local Mobile) digital access and
Blogging creates business and social resources
where virtual partnerships develop; potentially
enhancing communication, collaboration and commerce.
A quote by William Clinton addresses the connection
of education and economics, “In today’s knowledge-
based economy, what you earn depends on what you
learn. Jobs in the information technology sector,
for example, pay 85 percent more than the private