Alex Landau could be my husband or my son. How do I explain the clenched feeling I get behind my sternum when I think about the injustice of racism in our country today – and the anger I experience knowing that despite being the smartest, kindest, most upstanding person I know, my husband is seen by many as just another threatening black man.
How can we use social media to raise awareness and address the plague of racism that has such a huge public health impact on people of color in our country?
And – how can we do so in a way that empowers people of color?
As Emily Roenigk explains in her article 5 Reasons poverty porn empowers the wrong person , we need to find ways to use images and videos and microblogging that empower the oppressed in our society. I believe that giving a voice to the realities of racism – just as Alex Landau did in his film Traffic Stop above – is a start.
Addressing Health Disparities Using Social Media, Microblogging, and Multimedia Sharing
Last week, I was inspired by my colleage Lucy Lee’s blog post in which she brings up the possibility of using social media to help address health disparities. Given that health disparities are one of my primary academic interests, it got my attention. She wrote: “Given the demographics of Twitter users (non-whites- Latinos, African Americans), and the ease of providing small bursts of information in different languages, the tool has great potential to reach minorities and help address health disparities (CDC, 2014).”
Additionally, in February of this year, the Pew Research Center reported that “YouTube is most popular among younger adults, blacks and Hispanics … Racial and ethnic differences also exist – blacks (76%) and Hispanics (74%) are more likely than whites (57%) to use the video-sharing site.”
Given the popularity of Twitter and YouTube for Blacks and Hispanics, it makes sense that campaigns to empower
communities of color could work well using these resources.
So, let’s do it well!
Businesses and other for-profit organizations have developed tremendous expertise in using social media, microblogging, and multimedia sharing to their advantage. Let’s learn from them.
For example, Donna Moritz, an expert in visual social media marketing, recently shared a number of tips for excelling at multimedia sharing in an interview with Michael Stelzner from the Social Media Examiner http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/visual-social-media-with-donna-moritz/
Ms. Moritz emphasized the power of using images or imagery to communicate, tell a story, or share a message because we process images quickly and are drawn to them.
She states: “People make decisions and take action quicker when prompted by images, rather than by reading a lot of text.”
SO LET’S USE IMAGES!
She notes that video (short), images, graphics, and infographics (with story or data) with the greatest impact – in order of impact – involve:
2) how to…;
3) quotes; or
4) check lists
Ms. Moritz recommends taking traditional written content and increasing engagement with it by re-purposing it into images.
And, a great tip for prolonged success is to plan a series of images or videos that you will share one at a time consistently over a period of time in order to promote an idea or get a message across – something that can be planned in one day but implemented over months.