My Quest To Teach

March 16, 2014

Empowering Our Youth for a Brighter Tomorrow

Empowering Our Youth for a Brighter Tomorrow
by William Jackson

Empowering Our Youth for a Brighter Tomorrow
by Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. of Gamma Rho Omega
Chapter, Inc. Provided a powerful summit for youth and teens
that invited talented speakers in education, community
activism and business leaders to share their knowledge
and experiences with the teens and youth in attendance.

Having the opportunity to speak at the recent leadership
summit provided by the ladies of AKA Sorority
in Jacksonville, Florida at Matthew Gilbert Middle
School; the youth in attendance were engaged in
diverse workshops that provided valuable
information in areas of academics, business, self-esteem
and social media. Speakers were: Betty Burney,
Joan Williams, Ronnie King, Stephanie Brown,
Dr. Cohen, Dr. Euers, William Jackson and Ramona and
Michael Cobb.

One of the areas covered for teen’s their “Digital
Footprint” and the influence of Social Media, how a
teen’s future can be influenced by 140 characters when
micro-blogging or using the Social Media platform “Twitter.”

The immersion of micro-blogging has taken on a life
and reality of its own. Communicating in 140
characters or less only limits the availability of
continuous content; it does not diminish the value of
the content or meat of the communication.

Social Media consultant (William Jackson) addressed
the youth that their phones can be their best friend or worst
enemy by the content they create and post. It is not
exclusive to text (blogging/micro-blogging), Vblogging
(video blogging), Podcasting (audio blogging) or other
forms of content creation.
Content is Content…

When potential employers, higher educational institutions,
military branches and even non-profit organizations view
social media content, the created digital footprint is being
followed and traced that teens create. There is “no hiding”
on the Internet no matter how “stealthy” a teen maybe they
can always be found and tracked. Stated by Arthur Lopez
“Your Literacy Determines Your Survival in this
‘Super Competitive World,” so teens must be literate and
intelligent in their content.

Teens must realize the power and engagement of their posts.
The exchange of ideas and knowledge by youth and teens,
shows that their needs to be more engagement of youth in
workshops, seminars, conferences and even professional
development opportunities teaching about Social Media.
School guidance counselors are not trained properly in the
area of digital technologies so school districts need to hire
Social Media educators to regularly hold workshops to
educate students in middle and high schools on etiquette,
ethics and conduct online.

The strength of Social Media can be seen in music videos,
advertising, movies and other entertainment exchanges. When
programs such as “Scandal,” then mentions of Zombies and
even animated shows are promoted, Social Media is the tool
of choice that is out performing even traditional methods like
radio and television. Parental involvement is needed because
Social Media is a reflection of society. Teens and children cannot
be allowed to roam free, there are too many hidden dangers.

The focus on Twitter is putting a youth and teens thoughts
and feelings into a meager 140 characters (or less). The
limitations can be a benefit requiring thought and
direction in how to share ideas. The ability to quickly
share content can also be a hindrance when emotions get
into play. This method of communication has proven to
be a poor training ground for micro-messaging/micro-blogging
discipline because words can be stated in the heat of passion
tainted with profanity, slang, inappropriate cultural references
and even bordering on prejudice, racism and sexism.

Twitter feeds do not vanish, disappear or evaporate with time
they remain so the lack of basic intelligence by youth and
teens can be a serious issue when they are Googled by
future employers and higher education entities that may offer
scholarships, internships and travel opportunities. Parents are
role models and set the foundation on how technology should
be used in a productive and meaningful way.

Educators can be a link to online responsibility by sharing
educational materials with parents to help students excel in
learning, research abilities, writing/blogging skills and other
areas that empower and reinforce responsibility.
PBS Frontline documentary “Digital Nation” 2007 each
generation that is involved in the creation of digital content is
creating a paradigm shift in how higher education and businesses
find information on future employees. Recruitment procedures
have changed because of Social Media platforms.
To protect or reinforce proper use of the Internet parents must
start “Googling” their children getting results that show how
the media is being used and where information is posted.
School districts and law enforcement are already doing this
to be proactive in their efforts against Bullying/Cyberbullying,
harassment, Sexting and potential explosive situations.

Depending on a teens behavior social media will allow people
reading their content to base their decisions and perceptions
about them. Teens should present a positive image of themselves,
consider what they want others to think of them, tailor their
delivery as to what platform to use effectively and understand
that opinions and perceptions do matter online.

The ladies of Alpha Kappa Alpha should be commended on
providing this summit for the community in the encouragement
of sharing, intellectual growth and empowering teens.

“Empowering Our Youth for a Brighter Tomorrow”
by Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. of Gamma Rho Omega
Chapter, Inc. is just one of several summits for youth that will be
available in the future for students in Jacksonville, Florida.
For more information or questions, contact Ms. Lawrence at

William Jackson and students from Social Media workshop..

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