By William Jackson, HBCU Lifestyle Contributor
There is a mounting influx of digital technologies that are embedding themselves in the lifestyles of people in the Jacksonville community. One of these is the act of Blogging, Webster’s dictionary describes blogging as, “diary: a personal chronological log of thoughts published on a Web page”. Jacksonville is rapidly becoming a metropolitan city that is embracing cosmopolitan ideas and multicultural nuances with the help of technology.
The inclusiveness of technology is taking Jacksonville into the 21st century where a great southern city is connecting to the world. Blog (web log) technology is web based and inclusive to all people regardless of color and culture thus allowing a euphoria of ideas and intellectual exchanges. There is an estimated 8 million bloggers in America (The State of Blogging (2005), Pew Internet & American Life Project). Change blends with the traditions of southern living, lifestyle and technology inclusion; technology is infused in all aspects of life and is expanding daily.
There is so much technology available in our businesses and schools the question is, are our teachers and business leaders being taught the appropriate use of these technologies that are becoming relevant in the business and educational world? Are they being taught the effective use of technologies, the possibilities of expanding and encouraging knowledge, requiring the proficiency of reading (literacy/comprehension) and writing (creative thought process)? Blogging requires the participation of writers and readers involved in a symbiotic relationship that is dependent upon each other. Statistically African Americans are behind in technology applications and implementation (digital divide) professionally and educationally.
The areas of reading (literacy/comprehension) are challenging areas for those that struggle not too just read, but comprehend (understand) what they read. FCAT scores show that students are improving in these areas, but what of those that are already out of the educational system of DCPS and surrounding school districts? The old adage of, “if you want to keep something secrete write it down” is applied to those who do not strive to increase their knowledge through reading and educational exploration. Blogging is a new world, a world of digitized created writings on a multitude of subjects that readers can ravagely consume and interactively respond to. Teacher, Joel Arquillas states, ”I like the fact that it is a living document. Students, parents, teachers and the community can comment or discuss the stories that I post”. Where does that leave our business and educational community when it comes to gaining new incites in business, education and cultural awareness? The act of blogging opens doors to avenues of business ventures and educational opportunities for our students to expand their literary talents and understand the power of the reader or audience. It has been said that blogging compares to the Guttenberg’s press . Arquillos also states that his students “learned the power of writing and being able to defend their view”. No one is excluded or segregated from connecting to others with like ideas or controversial opinions. All that is needed is for a person to connect.
Why is blogging important to African Americans; because of the wealth of information that is more important
to educational and professional growth than MySpace (myspace.com) and Facebook (facebook.com) social networking sites? African Americans need to become aware of the potential to expand their knowledge base locally and globally in areas of politics, economics, education and cultural diversity. Many African Americans in Jacksonville unfortunately have a ”head in the sand” mentality when it comes to technology usage and application in business and in some cases education. Blogging allows the participants to be co-creators in this age of digital media that is transforming social interaction, taking social networking to new levels of cognitive growth not just empirical information that is irrelevant and in some cases professionally and socially detrimental. Is blogging going to be another technology that passes African Americans by, therefore leading us to be ignored, ignorant (to it’s applications) and disconnected from using a protocol (digital too) for cultural and professional enrichment? African Americans should embrace new media and new technologies especially in the digital world were the access to information may mean “the difference in a promotion and upward mobility in business or being stagnant and living in a dark closet digitally disconnected” (Gladzena Young, PHH).
Blogging is a new wave for cyber-publishing for African Americans to share their stories, ideas, passions, and in some cases rants and raves. This media is not about complaining about perceived or experienced injustices, although in the case of the Jena 6 it was an effective tool, but an opportunity to share cultural, historic and enriching perspectives on the excitement of the African American life. Textual manipulation is not the only option, but blogging can be spiced up with photos and video that is more personal and interactive. The options are endless as to what a writer can do, what they can share and how they can engage discussions.
Blogging instills creativity, empowerment and critical thinking skills into our young people that allows for their talent in writing. The very nature of the Internet is allowing people to not just retrieve information, but post information that may compete with resources of traditional newspapers and magazines at a fraction of their cost of publication. Schools no longer have to rely on print media being mailed or sent home by children and these papers never arriving leaving the parents
uninformed and ignorant about homework, school policies, field trips, PTO meetings and other relevant information.
The capability for African Americans to launch their own newspaper, magazine, radio and even television shows at a very
low cost is within the grasps of a person with a computer that can support this technology. If the mind-set does not change for many, African Americans will once again be left out, disconnected and have a limited impact to social and political issues. Our voices will once again be like distant rumblings of thunder that most people disregard as insignificant and a distraction…
We as a people must embrace technology and all that it has to offer, all the possibilities of imagination, self-empowerment,
and cultural enhancement. Blogging is just a tip of the digital iceberg.
The Internet, Podcasting, Wikis, Chatting along with Blogging are all interactive and self directed tools that avail themselves to
cognitive growth and connection to multicultural awareness that is being embraced and welcomed in the Jacksonville
community. Technology is about communication between peoples. Let us start communicating and using our writing skills
to inform and empower, go forth and blog…
Catalano, F. (Dec. 2005), “Why Blog?”, The Journal.
Blogs In Education, http://awd.cl.uh.edu/blog/, University Computing
& Telecommunications at University of Houston-Clear Lake:
Learning with the read/write web