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 27, I would like to introduce to some and present to others:
Amani is the Founder of Woodside Media Group, a Digital PR Firm specializing in Emerging Media and Technology. The company is most active in training people and Fortune 500 organizations on the numerous tools available on the web and within social media. Award winning authors, musicians, restaurants and hotels are a few of the clients that Woodside Media Group continues to support. Amani has also used his expertise to cover many social media topics for Black Web 2.0. Looking ahead, Woodside Media Group will continue to cover emerging media and technology for people and organizations of all demographics with the goal of educating everyone on how to stay ahead of the technology curve.
Amani is also an Area Sales Leader for Marriott International where he is responsible for managing hotel revenue of over $186 million dollars and a team of ten (10) sales executives. Amani has recently been selected to be an exclusive member of a small cadre of people creating an engaging online inter-company social network for the sales discipline within the entire Marriott corporation (300,000+ associates).
How can we use technology to close the digital divide?
The two main thoughts that come to mind is access and inspiration. It is our responsibility to seek out opportunities to share our technological wealth with the less fortunate people and communities. This can be done through donating old smartphones, computers, tablet PC’s and other gadgets. Even better is the donation of time and energy. Spending time with two main age groups – the youth (21 years old and younger) and the Baby Boomers are most important in my opinion. Providing time to show the youth of today that working and learning about technology is cool and definitely a legitimate career choice is crucial. Aspiring to be an athlete, actor, or musician is acceptable. However, it is also acceptable to strive to be a video game designer, a Chief Technology Evangelist for a Fortune 100 company or a startup maven. Opening the mind of our youth to different career possibilities and then watching them pursue these options can be exhilarating.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, we need to continue to share and develop the technology skills of the baby boomers in minority communities. Their life experience and wisdom combined with newfound technology skills can only help to close the digital divide. Many people truly discover their passion in life during their second or third career choice. I look forward to the day when I discover a minority 60 year old who is a first-time CEO of a startup company.
Therefore, with increased access and exposure to technology, we can inspire people to join the movement to close the digital divide. It is time for us to become entrenched in our less fortunate communities and bring people with us on our technological journey through life.
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.