BlackPresence website is now 12 years old and many changes have befallen the internet since its inception. We have gone from a time when there was hardly any black presence on the Internet to having a massive amount of black owned, black run websites, all singing their own songs.
It has long occurred to me that the Internet would revolutionise they way people communicate and that traditional media would eventually lose their grip on their monopoly of News/content delivery. Watching the arrival of sites like Chronicle World, Ligali, BHM, etc at first filled me with joy at the proliferation of new technologies within Black communities, then later fear. Fear that any coherent messages would be lost amongst a sea of disunited voices.
More recently though, I have been thinking that massive multinational websites such as Facebook pose the real threat to black news media.? The Ease of distribution that such sites provide, has drawn a great many people away from smaller traditional sites. In the past Forums, and message boards were buzzing hubs of community opinion, these days people seem to just want to reply with “one liners” to a Facebook thread.
These threads quickly disappear from view, often to be replaced with such frivolity as ….”Ronnie added a fish to his Aquarium” or “Dogface send you a Ganster invite” or other such distractions.
The problem here is simply that almost everyone seems to be a part of these social networks now, so as not to miss out on something. These people who are hook, tied in to Facebook etc were once the lifeblood of the smaller independent sites like this one. Are we to be replaced?
I say, No. However we have to take back the initiative, there is a larger network out there larger than Facebook, it’s a network of sites. A network of politically, historically minded, conscious, caring African people. The people who took their time and effort to build a site that specifically caters to the needs of special interests within the African/Caribbean communities worldwide.
We all have the ability to gather media, some of us are writers and poets, some film makers, some of us are technical wizards in creative media making short informative video clips or podcasts. Now is the time for us to come together like never before.
I believe there is now a need for a “Black Internet Consortium” to ensure that content is shared across a wide network of sites, to expand the knowledge of all.Of course how this is achieved is going to be more complex than the conception of the idea. Many meetings and conference calls will have to take place.
I intend to make some moves in the coming weeks to take the first steps at making this happen. I truly believe that our people need to be able to have the choice of what they can access instead of being forced to feel a need for the major social networks. Blackpresence is of course still a member of all the major social networks. Not because I enjoy them, but because of a need to reach a wider audience. However, if good quality, diverse content could be shared across a range of sister sites, all interconnected, then perhaps many people weened off Facebook and Myspace and brought back together, where they REALLY can own and control the media they use and consume.
If you own a website and would be interested in assisting me in setting up such a project then please get in touch. Post a comment below.