Social Media: Mobilization, Commentary, Discourse


This weekend was quite an active one in social media: President Obama officially launched his recruitment effort for the 2012 race. Shit White Girls Say…To Black Girls created a stir all over the internet. Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos pulled out a thrilling overtime victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

How do I know all of this stuff? Am I clairvoyant? Do I own a crystal ball? Did I have CNN on smash all wekend?

No. No. And no.

I learned all of the above through Facebook, Twitter and text.

I’m sure that most would scoff at this statement.

So what? Don’t we all get our stuff that way?

Perhaps. But the reason I’ve decided to talk about this today, is to offer a snapshot of the real impact that social media has in our lives.

Social Mobilization: Obama 2012

Late Sunday evening, I got a Facebook alert on my iPhone that a friend of mine posted a job opportunity from President Obama.

Go Team Obama!

Intrigued, I followed the link, and there it was http://www.barackobama.com/jobs

There were jobs for State Directors, Communications, Press Secretaries, State Digital Directors, Deputy Field Directors, and the like.

Each job listing identified the state (or multiple states) for which the posted position was applicable.

Clicking on the link opened a detailed job description, which led with an overview of the job, the responsibilities, the requirements, salary statement, and a link to either apply for the job or send the listing to a friend.

Of course, I threw my hat in the ring.

The great thing about the applying for the job was that the interface allowed you to either (i) upload your resume or (ii) use your LinkedIn profile (I opted for the second).

A few multiple choice selections later, my application was complete.

Bam. Give me a call, let’s talk strategy.

I was (and am) completely impressed with the way the Obama campaign is (once again) leveraging social media to grow their staff and volunteer base.

Of course, there are only so many of these positions which will actually be filled via this process.

But the database they’re going to create will undoubtedly be the envy of the 2012 campaign cycle.

Social Commentary: Shit White Girls Say…To Black Girls

Last Thursday, one of my friends posted the video Shit White Girls Say…To Black Girls on their Facebook profile.

At the time, there were 305 views of the video.

By Friday, it was over 1 million

As of this posting, there have been over 4,277,387 views of that video.

In four days, this video was viewed over 4 million times!

Mind you, this is a parody of a parody.

The original video, Shit Girls Say has garnered over 9 million views since December 12, 2011, when it was originally posted.

Despite the fact that it owes it’s inception to another video, it has clearly taken a life of it’s own, spawning spirited discussion all over the internet.

The commentary around this video has been significant, considering it’s only five days old.

But it speaks to the power of social media to get people to address issues that they might not have otherwise.

Social Discourse: Shit White Girls Say…To Black Girls

I know. I know.

It’s tres gauche to use the same example for two different topics, but bear with me on this one.

On Sunday afternoon, a friend of mine sent me a text asking my wife to check out her Facebook profile on the whole “Shit White Girls Say” thing.

Apparently, she had posted the video to her profile and invited her network to weigh in on what they thought.

As my wife is not on Facebook and generally doesn’t pick up her phone, her girl knew that the most efficient way to reach her was through me.

But I digress…

Anyway, several of her friends had opined that the video was a realistic reflection of what they, as Black women, had experienced.

But one (brave/misguided) White woman decided that she was going to take up the charge for White women, and ‘educate’ the other posters on the ignorance of their perspective.

Her opinions were, needless to say, not ‘appreciated’ and folks let her know.

The heat finally became too much, and with this final statement (and I quote) “And I will un-follow this post now. It is ending like too many,” Miss Thing was done.

What I found particularly interesting about the whole episode was how people took ownership of the discussion around the video and had an active discourse on the subject.

While everyone was not in agreement, people took an active role in voicing their opinions in a forum, where the opinions of others were important to them.

Wait a minute…what was I saying…

Oh yeah!

Social media is a powerful force for mobilization, commentary and discourse.

All of this information I’ve shared with you, I initially learned of, interacted with, and ultimately shared via social media.

I even gave my two cents in the debate via Facebook on my iPhone, while I waited in the car for the wife.

Where TV used to be the dominant medium for sharing information, it’s now taking it’s cues from the internet generally, and social media specifically.

Think about how many stories last year broke on Twitter before mainstream media even knew what was happening.

So children, what’s the moral of today’s lesson?

DON’T SLEEP ON SOCIAL MEDIA!!

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