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Blacks With Google Glass – A Social Technology Experiment



When you think about Google Glass and you live in Silicon Valley or San Francisco Bay area you think of “Glassholes” or stories of Google Glass being snatched off of peoples faces in bars in the Mission. You may be reminded of the the Google Glass segment on the Daily Show. But what about the rest of the country? Better yet what would African-Americans think about Google Glass?

ESSENCE Music Festival is held annually in New Orleans with the target demographic of African-American women. ESSENCE Festival is now among the largest consumer live events in the country serving a community of 543,000.

When I found out I was invited to attend ESSENCE Music Festival I reached out to one of my Google Glass friends and asked her if I could use her Glass to take to ESSENCE. My reasoning was to see what the first reaction would be from the attendees of ESSENCE. Keep in mind, ESSENCE is almost 100% African-American, mostly women and sadly to say way less technical than Silicon Valley.

The feedback and response was 99% positive with almost everyone saying they would love to own their own pair of Google Glass. The one person who at first thought Google Glass was too much, then tried the Glasses on and enjoyed her experience. Almost no one had ever seen Google Glass in person. Kids seemed to enjoy Google Glass the most and were excited to try them on. Almost everyone seemed to like the photo and video recording options and the ability to receive updates via the Glass.

Another reason why I wanted to take Google Glass to ESSENCE outside of capturing content was to expose the audience (African-Americans) to new forms of technology they normally don’t see another African-American with. It was not, “look at me, I have Google Glass” but “look, you too can have access and experience new technology. Google Glass can be for you too.”

Access plays a role in our economy and culture, impacting innovation and inclusion. We must continue to provide examples and access to all demographics to enable problem solving and creativity, and to allow innovation in various cultures across the world.

“Innovation thrives on diversity, and we simply can’t afford for the future of technology not to represent women or people with different backgrounds and experiences.”
– Susan Wojcicki, Senior Vice President of Advertising and Commerce at Google

“We realized that if we wanted to change the number of women in leadership, people needed to see women in different roles. You can’t be what you can’t see,”
– Marie Wilson from the White House Project.

With that being said, almost everyone who asked me about Google Glass was excited to try them on and were more than happy to allow me to capture their “essence” experience wearing Google Glass.

Below I present to you #BlacksWithGlass ! Enjoy, share, tweet, tag and let me know your thoughts about Google Glass, ESSENCE and Technology Inclusion in the comments below.

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