As I venture into more public speaking engagements and connect with people it’s being reaffirmed how many want to share information, make technology as user-friendly as possible, serve as real change agents to level an unbalanced playing field and meet others who share similar values.
Combining Advocacy With Technology for Social Change
The Black Tech Blazers panel is the first in a series of conversations regarding community activism, providing tools of empowerment and most importantly identifying an entire market of people currently being under-served. That demographic is by race, class, age and physical ability amongst other things.
The number one point to these conversations is in support of us being CREATORS and INFORMED USERS instead of blindly consuming with no specific purpose, understanding or reciprocity.
Under-Served Communities & the “Non-Traditional” User
The conversation we had was about how people from lower economic communities would be able to stay current in an increasing global economy. One aspect is regarding access to information and ease of use of tools. The term “digital divide” is often bandied about and it can be rather disheartening to think there’s a wide berth between where you want to go and where you are.
There’s not necessarily a “divide” but a disconnect.
Technology Is Like Breathing Air
While there are certain obstacles that have to be navigated, individuals also have to bear responsibility for seeking out tools and acquiring skill sets. For example, your local public library has a wealth of free information and offers computer training. People will skip a bill to buy a pair of sneakers or a cute purse but not place the same value on learning and moving beyond their comfort zone.
Youths are able to adapt to using new technology and gadgets with the blink of an eye. We need to ensure they are also encouraged to create applications that many of us will find valuable. For the more mature generation who may be unfamiliar or fearful of these changes it is simply a means of combining their life experiences with innovation. Technology and Social Media are merely terms that applies to how we seek ways to connect with others. It isn’t going anywhere so we had better learn how to embrace it in ways that will maximize its benefit to us.
There’s an entire population segment who need computer assisted equipment or are operating with impairments but are just as capable as the general population. Think of film critic Roger Ebert using a voice-generated computer to speak for him. He has his full mental capablilities but not all the physical ones after surviving cancer. This is why touchscreen technology and gadgets like the iPad are so valuable.
As I stated during my panel, there is nothing stopping anyone else from doing these things. The panel was part of DC Week and many can schedule events in their cities and utilize available resources. Conducting searches through Google and YouTube offers an extensive training in technology, blogging, social media, SEO and the works.
Be encouraged and get out there!
Panelist Najeema Washington
Participant Christen McCluney
Panelist Chris Cooks
These conversations are for YOU. Companies who can provide vital services, tools, gadgets and various sundries want to reach you. Make it work in your best interest.
Other Links related: http://jenesaisrein.blogspot.com/2010/06/dispatch-from-digital-capital-week-part.html
h/t Tamara Rasberry for the video coverage.