Reporting from the NAACP Leadership 500 Summit: Wielding Digital Media for Social Change
The theme of this year’s NAACP Leadership 500 Summit is Generations of Power; the central thought behind it is that leaders are not born, they’re developed. Either because of opportunity or necessity, a person takes charge and leads the way.
Why is this theme so timely for our community?
We now have at our disposal arguably the most important tool for social change and advocacy ever conceived: digital media. Whether it’s helping to secure support from former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and Pope Benedict XVI on behalf of Troy Anthony Davis, or to dissect the details of the Trayvon Martin shooting, digital media can be used to shape public opinion.
Clearly, the use of digital media can engage people and affect leadership at the highest levels of government. As evidence, see the election of President Barack Obama.
It can impact brand, both for companies and people. Celebrities deal with this reality every minute of their lives, and some of them are very crafty about how they use digital for their own promotion.
The primary question is: How do we, both as individuals and collectively, wield this powerful tool to effectively mobilize our community to affect change?
That’s what I’ll be discussing with my fellow panelists today during our Media & Technology strategy session. Besides presenting our own viewpoints, we’ll collaborate with audience members to create three to five strategic points regarding the use of media to recommend for the NAACP to adopt as part of its overall advocacy plan.
This is exciting, important work. As a community, we need to better understand the “rules of engagement” for digital media. We should know how to best integrate digital content with social networking and new mobile technologies.
It’s important because just as digital media can create leaders and leadership opinion, it can also tear it down. One wrong photo, one inappropriate video, one idle rumor can now have a long-lasting effect. Because the Internet is forever, how do we, as leaders in digital media, deal with negative digital information when it arises? How do we combat viewpoints that are competitive to ours via digital?
We’ll move a little closer to an answer after today’s Media & Technology strategic session. In tomorrow’s post, I’ll touch on our findings and what they mean for our community.
Until then, how would you use digital media to affect change in your life?
A. Troy Brown is the chief architect and president of one50one. With more than two decades of executive experience in digital platforms and product delivery, Brown has fostered digital and mobile content and marketing deals with Sony Pictures, Sony Music Group, Universal Music Group, Starbucks Entertainment and the first ever mobile branded content deal with Lucas Films. He also has secured direct international content deals with Tier 1 mobile carriers worldwide and premium online storefronts including Heineken, Amazon, Ford, iTunes, Napster, Rhapsody, Apple, Best Buy, Belvedere, Hennessy and Magic Johnson Enterprises and Walmart.com, among others. Brown sits on the board of several technology companies, including Express Mobile and IFK.