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African/Black Media must unite to deliver clear message

African Unity Online, more than just a dream?
African Unity Online

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.

Facebook notifications
Facebook Notifications-Distraction?

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.

15 thoughts on “African/Black Media must unite to deliver clear message

  • 11th March 2010 at 10:52 am
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    I am very interested in this. Please keep me advised.

    Thanks.

    Regards,
    Zhana

    Reply
  • 11th March 2010 at 7:28 pm
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    You can still use these “conglomorate minded” social network sites like facebook as a way to bring attention to your website.

    My website site is a online Directory of all of the African Caribbean community Information, Discussion Debate radio shows across the diaspora.

    I have also created a space to highlight other current affairs based mediums, i.e. tv stations, magazines, newspapers, news blogs etc

    p.s the webiste is still going through develolment stages

    Reply
  • 11th March 2010 at 4:55 pm
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    absolutely…… count me in…..

    Reply
  • 31st March 2010 at 12:09 am
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    I would definately like to be kept posted on this, thank you.

    Reply
  • 21st June 2010 at 11:54 pm
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    Hey, I'm v glad I stumbled on your website.
    I did so whilst in search for black presence online or groups or consortiums and I'd certainly be interested to get involved in such a project.

    Reply
  • 4th November 2010 at 6:14 pm
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    Please let me know what Ligali can do to help with this initiative. Peace.

    Reply
  • 14th November 2010 at 1:08 pm
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    greetings! enjoyed reading your article. i’d be very interested being in touch. i’ve been organising & facilitating black youth creative media projects in the UK – the No-Go-Zones audio radio project – and on the African continent – the DURBAN SINGS audio media & oral history project. recently also working in Kenya & Uganda where i hope to continue the work with audio media skills training workshops. the projects always have an element of correspondence, creative exchange & collective production. i.e. network building across all kinds of borders. & it’s very much on my mind if & how all this & many other initiatives out their could link over some kind of internet platform/ switchboard/ archive. ‘black internet consortium’ sounds good. music to my ears. how far are you with it? please keep me posted. thank you,
    claudia
    radio continental drift

    Reply
  • 24th November 2010 at 9:48 am
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    I am in complete agreement with your expressed sentiments and observations concerning the dichotomy of the internet as it relates to people of African descent. I was just about to publish an article along those same lines when i came across your article. I have been working toward engineering a business model that would embody the features and benefits that would act to unite all of our interest within one single internet resource. I would like to collaborate and explore with your organization the results of this endeavor, which you can review at: http://www.aaconnection.com. You can contact me toll free at: 888-AAC-8842.

    In the meantime, I look forward to hearing from you.

    Reply
  • 8th January 2011 at 3:33 am
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    A welcome initiative for the new year Im interrested in hearing more. I think an important issue would be to consider the ethical, political iand commercial issues that would inform a joint consortium. Its my experience that some websites are engaged in the total denigration of other black sites and individuals. Others are in direct commerical competition with each other.

    My own view for what its worth is that order to hold together a working consortium an important first principle would be that all involved would agree a working protocol on these issues.

    Members of such a consortium would have little interest in working with any site that is engaged in purile attacks upon them or others who were seen as their direct commercial competitors

    I like the idea and you are to be commended for suggesting a constructive way forward however the reality is there are real polictical and commercial differences and tensions that would need to be addressed in order for it work. So cautious welcome, want to know more , happy to be part of on going discussions that will need to be informed by a common understanding.

    Reply
  • Profile photo of Phil Gregory
    31st January 2011 at 12:10 pm
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    No Lee the Debate is still ongoing..we were just having a little sleep

    Reply
  • 19th February 2011 at 3:23 am
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    Interesting piece that ignores Black websites that were here in the UK before this website. These pioneering websites Black Britain, BlackNet each grew to be far bigger than all the black publications put together. Yet your piece suggest that this website was the first! If you are writing a piece about the internet and Black websites then don’t twist or hide part of its history to make your website look like it was a pioneer. It wasn’t.

    Reply
    • Profile photo of Phil Gregory
      19th February 2011 at 5:23 pm
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      Well for a start Max, it would appear that you didn’t really read the article. Black Britain was not around before this website.
      Black net was certainly around before Black Presence but then it didn’t have Black British History content before I contributed a few pages. which, I believe can still be found in Google’s index as black history by REALDREAD.

      the article never stated that it was THE pioneer, but was certainly a Pioneer in Black British history websites. In fact I think if you type black british history into Google….you’ll get my drift.

      The article was about bringing ideas together not one upmanship.

      Reply
  • 5th April 2011 at 4:21 pm
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    Just found this site while searching for black media outlets and was wondering what happened with this? Did everyone get together? How did it move forward
    thanks

    Reply

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