As we all know, February is Black History Month. It’s a month where we honor those who have made an impact on American culture for equal rights, those who have invented, those who have a helped others and those who have inspired everyone to be the best they can be, not only as a person of color but as a human. Last year for Black History Month, I started an online series called 28 Days Diversity where I would feature someone new everyday during the month of February for just being awesome in their own right. Even though it’s black history month, the goal for 28 Days of Diversity is to feature not just African-Americans but other minorities in the web/tech space. Also note that 28 Days of Diversity is not a popularity contest or an influencer list but a list of thought leaders in the social web sector, including entrepreneurs, bloggers, conference organizers, IT professionals and friends not ranked in any particular order who I have either met in person or followed online. Each post will include a picture, bio, two links from the selected person and this paragraph.
For 2011 I wanted to not just feature individuals but also address a topic that affects everyone. For 28 Days of Diversity 2011 each post/person will answer the question “How can we use technology to close the digital divide?” So for the next 28 days, come back to visit SocialWayne.com/tag/28daysofdiversity and 28daysofdiversity.com to see who’s on the list. For day 23, I would like to introduce to some and present to others:
L Martin Johnson Pratt
L Martin Johnson Pratt has created marketing solutions to reach the African American Demographic through different forms of media such as: radio, print, tv, mobile, and social media.
Mr. Pratt has focused his attention to social media marketing for media outlets, book authors and small businesses. Mr. Pratt has several large clients such as: TheSIAC.com, WHCR 90.3FM, and Rollingout Magazine.
Mr. Pratt also writes for Rolling Out Magazine. Rolling Out Magazine does 1.2Million papers per week in 25 cities. Mr. Pratt was recently ranked #16 of Top 50 African Americans Technology Tastemakers in USA by HP and BlackWeb20.com Mr. Pratt also established the ILUVBLACKWOMEN Brand in 2008 which has grown into an online social media movement with over 16,000 followers on twitter and 4,000 on Facebook. Mr Pratt has worked full-time for 22yrs in Technology. Mr. Pratt serves on the Board of Directors for The Hurston/Wright Foundation – the nation’s resource center for writers, readers, and supporters of Black literature. Mr. Pratt is also a regular guest on “The New School” on SiriusXM Radio Channels 110, 130 and 169. Mr. Pratt is also the Editor at Large for Live News section for BlackBirdHome – http://www.blackbird.com/alpha the only web browser designed by and for African Americans which runs on MAC or PC can be downloaded at: http://www.blackbird.com/.
How can we use technology to close the digital divide?
In order to answer that question i would first like to discuss the evolution of the phrase over the years the The Digital Divide has evolved as a definition. The Digital Divide in the 90s was defined by then Vice President Al Gore and Darien Dash former CEO of People of Color Inc was White House cheerleader for changing the have vs have nots or those who had a computer and those who didnt have a computer. Then in the mid 2000s the Pew Institute via their website www.pewinternet.org defined it as those who have broadband internet access and those who do not. In my opinion the Digital Divide was and has always been about those who have the access to knowledge and tools to create.vs those who do not. Never before in technology hisstory has the barriers to access to knowledge and tools to create been lower! Take for example creating Iphone Apps the digital divide for creation used to be the Cost/Access to instruction. But today there is either very low cost or no cost / just the $99 to be an Apple Developer.
Google has uploaded the necessary instructions to program in Andriod OS. for free. Once again the Digital Divide to learning how to develop or create in one of the top programming languages in the world is free. What is needed to benefit from the newly broken barriers is: We need our programming community to be willing to mentor and give back as a Knowledgebase. And this i believe can be the model or template used to fully erdicate the digital divide today and in the future.
You can follow the status of 28 Days of Diversity 2011 on http://28daysofdiversity.com, http://socialwayne.com/category/28-days-of-diversity/ and syndicated on BlackWeb 2.0.