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
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 and age.
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 (tools). Even 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
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 for
multi-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
and Facebook presence
Facebook.com/nokturnalescape have seen great growth because of the information provided on
Social media sites for Blacks:
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
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
(Why Do Blacks Make Technology Popular?) take a look
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
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 content.
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
Since their web presence their business
has grown by 20% and receiving catering orders throughout
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 parentsin 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; Wikipedia:
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 sector average”.