About MichelleMichelle Brown is an author, activist & public speaker who believes in common ground for all people.
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Category Archives: Social Media
by Waddie G
The G-List Society profiles an individual whose social platform brings empowerment to constituents, peers and fellow leaders in The Black LGBTQ Influencer weekly column. The Black LGBTQ Influencer column is part of my mission for The G-List Society of empowering and celebrating the greatness of Black LGBTQ people.
This week’s Black LGBTQ Influencer is Detroit activist and radio host Michelle E. Brown. Brown was selected by me because I have noticed her work as writer and activist by name long before we met. Since meeting her, my personal and online interactions with Ms. Brown has always been warmingly positive. Brown is one of the few people in the LGBTQ community I can say without hesitation that her platform is authentically selfless to benefit us LGBTQ people of color. I also feel that she truly cares that I keep up the work that I do for the community.
Read the entire article at: http://www.glistsociety.com/2015/11/the-black-lgbtq-influencer-michelle-e-brown/
By Michelle E. Brown
Originally Printed 3/5/2015 in issue 2310 of Between The Lines Newspaper
We have become so connected by text, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and all the rest, that sometimes we, myself included, forget about personal contacts.
I’ve followed relationships; seen them begin, flourish, sometimes fall apart, then rekindle – often with accompanying photos – on-line.
It’s like we’ve all become Santa Claus – knowing when our friends are sleeping; when they’re awake; when they’ve been bad or good. Especially hoping they’ve been good and if not, for goodness sake, not to have taken photos because they’ll be all over the web for the world to see.
My data usage exceeds my actual minutes because, like so many of my friends, I just send a text. And when I have something juicy to say, I’ve figured out how to relay it in under 140 characters, including hash tags for maximum impact, via Twitter.
When asked about the last time I talked or heard from someone, I often find myself citing a tweet, text or post. I feel like I’m in touch but…
In recent months I have heard about engagements, weddings, births, job promotions and other events mostly on Facebook. It has been generally happy news.
Most of the time it hasn’t come as a surprise. I’ve replied “Congratulations” and then hit send. I’ve looked at the pictures, hit like, smiled and shared them with mutual friends. Some of the more outrageous posts even merit a comment – “OMG,” “WTF” and/or some personal remarks.
Sometimes the news hasn’t been good – illnesses and, unfortunately, deaths. At these moments, “like” just doesn’t get it and comments fall short. Thinking about the losses of Charity Hicks, Robert Clark, Tito Gutierrez, Chantay Legacy Leonard and Santiago Lopez, I have to say these have been the hardest.
We make friends; begin and end relationships; make announcements; organize; mobilize and get our local, national and our all-important entertainment news online.
The world not only is now flat but, with a click of a mouse, we can also connect with people and events across the globe. All this connectivity, all this knowledge at our finger tips… one would think all our problems should be over. In some instances, they seem to be exacerbated as we lose our connection with one another.
Are friends whom we only know in the Facebook World – no matter how many likes/shares – dearer or closer than our “ride or die” friends from ‘back in the day’?
Are we getting beyond the posts, tweets and photos to get the details, to act and/or react beyond the one-click option? And after the firestorm of likes, posts, tweets and hash tags, how soon do we forget about the people?
Where are those kidnapped Nigerian school girls? How has life changed for the thousands living with ALS after the success of the “Ice Bucket” challenge? If “All Lives Matter,” why are members of the black community and transgender community still in peril?
Don’t get me wrong, I believe in social media – its ability to connect, inform, motivate and even empower us. But I believe in the power of the personal.
I believe in the power of real conversations with actual friends, checking in on one another and giving real hugs. What if we went out of our way to make a new acquaintance in the real world, like getting to know your neighbor, saying hello to a stranger and smiling (I mean actually smiling with your mouth… not an emoji).
As much as I love looking at photos and sharing with my friends, I believe it is just as important – if not more so – to live our LGBTQ lives out in the world so that everyone can see we – our loves, our families and our lives – are as diverse and unique as any other, and our quest for equality is just and right.
I am no stranger to the selfie, but more important than the likes from friends are the visible changes in attitude from people when my love and I exchange a hug, kiss or hold hands in the real world while at dinner, walking down the street or even traveling.
Maybe it’s time to come out again – out from behind our computers, tablets and smartphones and be out in our communities.
Let’s use social media as a platform to dive back into the lives of our friends, to strengthen the connections within our community, to share news from near and far that will educate, empower and remind us that oppression is interlinked and cannot be solved alone.
But more importantly, let’s use social media to tap into our intersectionality, then move our hearts and minds to get off the couch and get out there to build a better world that, even though it has been flattened by technology, is richer by the diversity found in our online worlds.
Michelle E. Brown is a public speaker, activist and author. Her books are available at bookstore.authorhouse.com or http://www.mychangeiam.com. You can also follow her at http://www.twitter.com/mychangeiam.
I have been trying to understand the “Ice Bucket Challenge” – the phenomena sweeping social media.
Don’t get me wrong I understand what it is all about and believe families and individuals living with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) disease, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease deserve our support and every dollar raised for research. I have a good friend whose father ultimately died from ALS a few years ago. It was and is heartbreaking as a day doesn’t go by that they aren’t still living with ALS. I get it!!!
It’s raised a lot of money and awareness where it was needed but these ice bucket challenges have my head spinning. Is that all it takes some cool gimmick, a video on social media and challenging some friends and we cannot only raise awareness but the money to tackle some of the world’s pressing issues?
Think about it, we’ve been told that voting will make a difference. We voted and still have political gridlock. We marched for Trayvon and this year we’re holding a National Moment of Silence for Michael Brown and marching in Ferguson. We made posters and commercials saying “it gets better” and our youth continue to be bullied, attacked, are homeless and commit suicide.
Cease fires end before they get going good. Iron domes protect Israeli’s held captive by fear while bombs rain down on Gaza innocents. Our world is expanded by technology but the expansion bombards us with images of poverty, hunger, social and economic injustice. It’s on the television, on our computers even on our phones. Is the answer really that simple an “ice bucket” challenge?
Just imagine an ice bucket challenge to bring fresh water the 780 million people world-wide who don’t have it; An ice bucket challenge to feed the hungry; to address youth homelessness especially among LGBTQ youth; to get treatment to the thousands suffering from Ebola in Africa; to find a cure for cancer; the list goes on and on. We all know that the solution is not that simple but this “challenge” has started something.
In his book “The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference” published in 2000, Malcolm Gladwell talks about a point, “the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point’” where ideas and messages spread like viruses.
I’ve been thinking about it a lot and wondering if this phenomena, this ice bucket challenge, isn’t the manifestation of our communal anguish, to make a difference, to maybe, just maybe a way do something good in a world that seems to be spiraling out of control – our Tipping Point.
The few people I have engaged in conversation about “The Challenge” have said they took the challenge because it was “fun” or just felt good to be a part of it. Many said they had, in fact, made a contribution. The one constant was that everyone felt they were doing something that was actually making a difference as evidenced by the reported dollars raised. And maybe that’s what we need right now to move things to the next level.
A moment, where we can do something, something to say that we have not grown numb to the inequality, the pain, the challenges around us and in our world; A moment when we can stand up and say we stand for something; and a moment when we can see that our action did make a change. I get that!!
As for me I won’t be doing the “ice bucket” challenge. I come from the tradition that you contribute your time, talent and tithes without expecting recognition, accolades or telling everyone. As my mother would say it’s the dues you pay for walking this earth.
I also won’t be doing the challenge because water is not only one of our most precious global resources. 780 million people DO NOT have access to clean water – not just in other countries but right here in the United States from drought stricken areas in California to Detroit where water shut offs have gained international attention. Water IS a HUMAN RIGHT!!!
So I’m hoping this phenomena is the tipping point, the point where we, the people, no longer sit back waiting for others to do something. I’m hoping the “ice bucket” challenge has shocked us out of our complacency and stimulates other initiatives.
Let’s recognize the power we have in our social media/networks and do something more than post cute kitten videos, update our dating status and share photos (yes, I’ve been guilty of all three) and use this powerful medium to educate, advocate and create change.