I was finally allowed to set up a Facebook page at age 13, about two months before I left middle school to go to high school. It was super important to me as I was one of the only kids in my class without one. I couldn’t even sneak and make one because my father was too computer savvy for that and would’ve easily found out. So for him to approve me getting one was a ginormous deal in my head.
When I was first on Facebook it wasn’t the news powerhouse that it is now, but it was slowly working its way there. However, I was not paying attention to that. I used it to talk with my friends, make irrelevant statuses, seem important, and post pictures that I thought were cool and realized were T - E -R - R - I - B - L - E. As I transitioned into high school, Facebook became a space for civic discussion and social interactions. I would still message friends, but I would also share memes and articles about the election or what was going on in the world. Without character limitations like Twitter, Facebook allowed for pretty intensive discussion of the topics being shared. I have had conversations and debates about everything from homophobia to police brutality.
Facebook also enabled me to network through the groups that I am a part of. My high school has alumni groups that act as massive resource pools. Whether one is looking to rent a new apartment in New York while they complete an internship, or they’re moving to San Francisco and are looking for job opportunities in their field, our alumni class page enables us to connect across borders and age groups to engage in an array of phenomenal opportunities.
Twitter is more for amusement than anything else for me. I got a Twitter account right before my sophomore year in high school. I pretty much used it to interact with friends, give short facets of my opinions, and retweet things I thought were interesting or funny. The only transitions I’ve made over the years is my interaction and engagement about social issues. I use Twitter to make insightful social commentary in a brief way that solicits discussion or response from my followers or those following the trending topic that I’m tweeting about. Within social justice work, Twitter has deeply impacted the conversations and dialogues being created about injustice and inequality. Just last year, Twitter celebrated their ten-year anniversary. One of the things they did to celebrate was to look at the most hashtagged topic over the course of their history. It turned out to be #Ferguson. Although Ferguson only happened two years prior, it was the most widely talked about topic over the past decade on Twitter. Which goes to show the impact of social media and the large role it plays in affecting our civil society. "Forty-five" uses it all the time to convey his messages, no matter how disrespectful or indignant. But that’s another topic for another day.
Instagram was one of the last social media platforms I joined. (Mostly due to the aforementioned camera issue on my phone.) When I upgraded phones, I began using the platform regularly. Instagram is interesting because there’s an art to getting a large number of followers. There are millions of people using it. However, outside of celebrities, those who are followed the most usually have captivating pictures or photos that use an aesthetic that pulls viewers and followers in. I definitely didn’t get that at first, nor did I have an interesting enough life that called for that. But as time went on and I started working with social media platforms more, I began really harnessing Instagram as a promotional tool. For my media company, we do most of our engagement through Facebook and Instagram. Additionally, with Instagram’s increasingly developing functionality, users are able to get even more out of the app, using it for an online shop, retrieving data analytics on their consumers, or engaging with other business owners and brand managers.
Website Development & The New Narrative
Rewrite. Reeducate. Redefine. Visit www.new-narrative.org for more info!
Bringing this all into the present and most prevalent development that I am working on, I want to discuss The New Narrative. The New Narrative is my brand, website, and soon-to-be media company that works to rewrite, reeducate, and redefine the narrative of people of color. Leveraging social media and this generation's fondness for technology, we maintain our own website to house our stories, podcasts, and everything else in-between.
When attempting to figure out which platform the brand would run through, I decided to try the various website builders such as SquareSpace, Weebly, Wix, and Wordpress. I found Weebly to be too elementary to include the elements I was looking for. I also found Wordpress to be very limiting as well. Wix and SquareSpace gave me more freedom to get into the fine details but Wix ultimately won me over with its versatility and large-scale functionality.
Creating a website to tell stories would seem easy. However, when you’re as detail-oriented as I am, it becomes an increasingly large task that can prove to be quite tedious. Troubleshooting becomes a personal skill and your patience is built up over time. The website itself is not necessarily tough to create. What tends to throw designers and creators alike are the minute details that individually take a few seconds to fix, but compositely can take hours to perfect. Using Wix, I learned how to embed HTML codes, connect with consumers through the website. and graphically design webpages. Creating a website allows for a larger sense of multimedia education by converging all mediums into the same web-based platform. On our site we have playlists, podcast links, pictures, written work, and hyperlinks to alternate pages and sources. It is a mixing bowl of technical facets.
Moral of the Story
I’m just a girl who has a lot of different experiences that’s trying to make technology work for her.