This is the fourth article in a series of articles about connecting Black consumers and entrepreneurs more effectively. In this article we discuss "Mobilizing the Virtual Black Community."
The Second Diaspora Initiative seeks to connect the dots and mobilize the Virtual Black Community to have a greater impact across the entire community.
Three elements are needed to begin to channel the resources of the Virtual Black Community in ways that will have a positive economic impact.
- The Virtual Black Community must be "self-identifying." It is not enough to point to declining urban neighborhoods as the definition of the Black Community. The exodus from the urban communities from whence most have come has resulted in Blacks flying under the RADAR in suburban communities. Many, however, still identify with their urban roots. Their tastes in music, food, and social activities are still intact. They have also adopted some of the lifestyle attributes of their suburban neighbors. Most still vote Democratic, support Black advocacy groups like the NAACP and the National Urban League, and according to the Pew Research Center - Social and Demographic Trends 2007, 53% still think of Black as a single race. The first step is that these Blacks who want to engage in "self-help initiatives" must join online communities of Blacks to extend their impact across the full spectrum of Blacks - connecting the dots to form stronger economic bonds.
- The Virtual Black Community must be pro-active in seeking online solutions. What this means is that Black entrepreneurs and consumers must have a way of identifying who and where they are. This identification can be done with the online tools that are easily accessed. Black consumers are the most active users of smart phones to access online content. These tools must be leveraged to connect Black entrepreneurs and consumers. The new model of engagement in the Virtual Black Community must be facilitated primarily through online transactions. Here are several examples:
- Around The Way Mobile App -- locates Black-owned businesses near you using your smart phone.
- BlackCrowdFunding.net -- Provides Black entrepreneurs a platform to raise funds online.
- The Virtual Black Community must collaborate to leverage its impact. The Second Diaspora Initiative must function along natural paths to increased success. Black entrepreneurs across all market segments must collaborate where possible. This holds true for technology, manufacturing, distribution, retail, food service, entertainment, education, science and finance. Where appropriate, new opportunities for collaboration must be sought to compound success through investment, merger, and growth. Social networks must serve as vehicles for expanding reach. The most powerful actions can often be the
SHARE, RETWEET, and FORWARD links to spread information across networks of contacts. Hording information is a going out of business strategy.
Most importantly, every one of us must understand that we must act as "empowered consumers" acting in our self-interests to leverage our spending power. Often, Black entrepreneurs are so focused on promoting their own businesses that they don't practice what they preach. We must become the solution we advocate.
In upcoming articles I will discuss "Key Players in the Second Diaspora Initiative" and "Implementing Behavioral Change."
Roger Madison, CEO