All Articles Tagged "technology"
College students are often early adopters, the first to try the latest social networks and mobile devices. But how do the colleges and universities they attend stack up? Here are 10 HBCUs that are doing cool things in the digital and social media space.
A new crowdfunding platform, Catapult, is preparing for a boost in awareness and donations thanks to a fundraising concert set for June 1. The organization, started in October, focuses on issues and causes supporting women and girls, and allows donors to pick which projects they want to fund.
As the only charity crowdfunding platform focusing on women and girls, Catapult has more than 80 organizations from around the world currently listed on the site, with plans to add more as the June 1 Sound of Change concert approaches. Catapult itself is funded by Bill & Melinda Gates and MacArthur Foundations and has a partnership with Gucci’s Chime for Change initiative, which is presenting The Sound of Change charity concert in London. After the show, attendees will receive an email with information on how to choose a project on the Catapult platform and can send the cost of their ticket as a donation to that organization.
Scheduled performers include Beyonce, JLo, Florence & The Machine, John Legend, and Rita Ora. Beyonce along with Gucci’s Frida Giannini and actress Selma Hayek Pinnault are leaders with the group.
Catapult’s projects fall into 28 different categories, including maternal health, HIV/AIDS, leadership, human trafficking, violence against women, and more.
“We’re just the platform. They’re the experts,” Catapult founder Maz Kessler told MadameNoire. “We provide a place where they can bring their work to the public and engage through an online tool. People can support the causes easily, at any level, and know the organization is excellent, has been vetted, and has done great work.”
She added that Catapult encourages transparency, supplying donors with updated information about where their funds are going.
Kessler was a musician before founding Catapult, and said she has always been passionate about supporting and help women and girls.
“Girls and women are 52 percent of the world’s population and so many issues come under that heading,” Kessler said. “Catapult, by funding all these individual projects, allows people to engage for girls and women exactly the way they want: around education, a specific geography or region, or health. Crowdfunding allows us to do that while overall contributing to generally advancing the lives of girls and women.”
As the organization grows, it is collecting data and working to understand what issues certain groups and communities care about.
“We are young and new, so we are excited to take this new community that’s coming through the concert and the performers,” Kessler said. “A lot of these young fans are new to the issues that affect girls and women around the world. We’ve done well to-date, but we are about to have a global movement.”
Like many charitable organization, Catapult values partnerships as a means of advancing its efforts.
“We are excited to move to the second half of the year and giving season and continue to have these vibrant partnerships,” Kessler added. “We want to bring these issue forward so we can all help create a world where girls and women do not have to encounter these very outdated obstacles.”
What about you, readers? Of all the issues affecting girls and women, what issues do you care about? Where would you put your donations?
Is the tech world finally looking to black women to join the talent pool? According to Lisa Nicole Bell, founder and CEO of Inspired Life Media Group, if Silicon Valley isn’t already taking notice of tech’s fastest growing minority groups, it will be soon. And black women need to be ready to jump from tech consumers to tech makers.
“Black women consume significant amounts of digital media. We’re frequently the early adopters for new software and hardware,” she writes in Inc. The numbers are there: An Essence magazine 2008 report found that five times as many black women — 36 percent — use cell phones for three or more hours per day. It also found that black women are much more likely than other female consumers to use technology and the Internet as tools of empowerment and self-expression. Add to this, a recent Pew study, which revealed that blacks “over-index” on Twitter and Instagram.
While the tech world may finally realize the need for inclusion of more black women, actually making that happen is another matter. According to Bell, several steps must be taken not only by Silicon Valley but also by black women themselves.
“Education seems to be the most promising means of both increasing the number of black women active in tech,” she explains. “With a paucity of black women choosing to major in computer science and related studies, there has to be more done to encourage black girls to see themselves as producers in addition to being consumers.”
And the education push needs to start early on. By encouraging young girls to enter STEM careers, not only will this affect the tech industry but the world in general. “More girls and women need to be encouraged to pursue interests and careers in digital,” Mira Lowe, senior editor for features at CNN Digital, explains to Bell . “If women are not engaging in the technology world, they will ultimately not be contributing to the world at large.”
One organization helping to encourage young black girls to enter the tech arena is Black Girls CODE, an organization founded by Kimberly Bryant, a technical project manager based in San Francisco. “There is definitely a very serious pipeline issue. The K-12 infrastructure does not currently provide adequate access to training in computer science,” Bryant says. “Once we can better feed the tech pipeline with women and other diverse candidates, we can begin to move the needle and change the face of tech as these students move on to attend college, pursue careers in tech, and eventually become the tech leaders, builders, and mentors for the next generation.”
Lastly, once young black women have studied and entered the tech world there needs to be mentoring available. “Network with people in the field. Develop and preserve your digital footprint. Believe that you can make a digital difference,”Lowe tells Bell.
If you’re thinking about buying that new MacBook Pro you’ve had your eye on for months this weekend, put down your wallet and read further. According to Gizmodo.com, if you can just wait for a few more months, you will score a much more efficient rig to surf the Internet.
A new chip courtesy of Intel, called Haswell, will improve most any Mac or PC on the market. The line of laptops that are lucky enough to be equipped with Haswell will boast more battery power. We’re talking about 24 hours of electric fuel to power your laptop, or ten days of standby power, without having to find your battery pack in the middle of writing your final term paper. Also, this extension on battery life won’t denigrate the functions of your laptop, but rather provide a speedier and more formidable machine.
The graphics of these Haswell-installed laptops will also display Iris graphics. For all you gamers out there you will be able to play FarCry 3 without having to buy a separate graphics card. Plus, these laptops will be thinner and have touchscreens, competing with some of the most fashionable tablets out there today.
A new crowdfunding site, currently in beta, is focusing on getting funding and capital for African-American entrepreneurs. BlackStartup.com was started by a group of Morehouse College alumni, all Omega Psi Phi fraternity brothers, and is accepting applications from companies and organizations founded by African Americans.
The companies will use the site as a crowdfunding platform, and BlackStartup.com also has resources and a blog to support business owners. CEO Nate Bennett Fleming, who is an adjunct professor of law at the University of the District of Columbia’s School of Law, researched crowdfunding and African-American business, determining that while African Americans have a lot of business ideas, they often lack the access to capital to get the ideas off the ground.
“I wanted to create a solution to address that problem,” he said. “At this point, we do the crowdfunding and address increasing access to capital and as we expand, we’ll create partnerships with on-ground organizations that look to encouraging entrepreneurship and support entrepreneurs to help with mentoring.”
So far, the for-profit BlackStartup.com has received more than 10 applications over the past couple weeks from businesses ranging from technology companies to nonprofits to artistic endeavors.
Springtime is here and with it comes flowers, sunshine… and technology? While you might not automatically associate technology with the outdoors, there are several ways that tech innovations, gadgets, and websites can help us make the most of spring. Read on for 10 ways you can enhance this season with tech!
This week, we celebrated the 40th anniversary of the first call made from a cell phone. It can be hard to imagine a time when we didn’t all have our phones, computers, music, and more in our pockets at all times. But let’s take a look back at some of the technological innovations we’ve had since 2000.
Social Media Advisor Cheryl Contee Shares Says African Americans Must See Themselves As Digital Creators
Cheryl Contee, a co-founder of Fission Strategy, works with nonprofit organizations and foundations to improve their digital outreach: blogging, tweeting, Facebook, and more. Contee describes the company as “specializing in social media for social good,” and was founded in 2008. She works with organizations like the One Campaign, Define American, Amnesty International, and Zynga.org.
In addition to her work as co-founder of the Jack and Jill Politics blog, she is active in the digital space, on Twitter, and moderated a recent Social Media Week Panel on multicultural mobile consumers.
MadameNoire spoke to Contee about her work with nonprofits, trends in social media, and how the black community is active on social media and mobile devices.
MadameNoire: Why did you decide to start Fission Strategy? Why is it important to get nonprofits to use technology to their full advantage?
Cheryl Contee: I co-founded Fission as a business, as a for-profit, which would keep us focused and structured on innovation, to provide specialized, tailored services for nonprofits and foundations. Nonprofits don’t always have the same budgets, but certainly they have an advantage in this new arena, where individuals are so empowered through social media and can use their voices, use their networks, and use their technological savvy to inspire others around a given cause. They aren’t selling laptops or soap or football tickets, but they are selling ideas and inspiration.
MN: What are some nonprofit organizations that you work with, and what are they doing in social?
CC: Moms Rising is doing an incredible job. They do tweet chats with the White House, and they have an incredible passionate and engaged membership. During the election, we worked with OurTime, which works with young people, and we were able to get voter registration widgets on the Facebook pages of folks like Lady Gaga, Will Smith, Will.i.am, Jess Alba, Eva Longoria, and Trey Songz. We also worked with Tumblr to have the same online voter registration widget. Overall, that ended up driving more than 300,000 registrations, which is the kind of difference-maker that we try to achieve.
MN: I saw you moderated a panel during Social Media Week about multicultural mobile consumers. How do you see the African-American community using mobile more or differently than the general market or other demographics?
CC: Certainly, there are lots of different stats on this, but social media use is really heavy for African Americans. Pew Internet had a study out last year that said that something like 25 percent of online African Americans use Twitter and 10 percent use it every day. That’s a real dominance when you think about the millions [of Twitter users]. And that’s at least twice the rate of whites. A lot of people are using Twitter on their mobile device, either through apps or text messaging.
MN: And is it only about using social media on mobile devices, or are text messaging campaigns and mobile advertising still intriguing for nonprofits and corporations as they try to reach multicultural consumers?
CC: Any technology that is accessible via mobile is something that is important.
When you look at mobile advertising, there are some great numbers that came out Nielsen that show that, when you look at mobile ads, minorities are more likely to see them and click on them and to actually consider those. It’s a really useful way to stretch your ad dollars and make the most of your ad dollars.
[Editor's Note: During the Social Media Week Panel, Monica Bannan, VP of product leadership at Nielsen showed stats about mobile advertising. After seeing a social media ad, 18 percent of African-Americans shared that ad, 29 percent "liked" it, and 18 percent went on to purchase the product. This is compared to 13 percent of whites who shared the ad, 24 percent who liked it, and 12 percent who purchased a product.]
MN: Beyond the mobile trend, what else are you seeing with regards to the black community when it comes to social media, and what technologies are you focusing on for the next year or so?
CC: Certainly, we’re working to understand the power of Tumblr and Instagram, which is more integrated into Facebook, and having the notion of photo filters and hashtags attached to photos. We’re paying attention to that trend and the shift in the market. And again, a lot of these trends and innovations are actually driven by a change in consumer behavior around mobile devices. We are really trying to pay attention to that.
What is key for African Americans going forward is to see themselves not just as powerful consumers—African Americans are more likely than some other groups to own smartphones, to use social media, to use advanced internet—but to see themselves going beyond consumers to become creators. That’s the future of careers, the future of our economy and the future of prosperity for our community. We need to take our demonstrated tech savvy to the next level, launch our own companies, and create products that other people find useful.
We’ve shown you hot Tumblrs to follow, cool Pinterest accounts run by black women, and Etsy shops for you do your shopping. But what about Instagram? We compiled a list of Natural Hairspiration on Instagram, but here are even more talented black photographers.
So whether you’re into fashion, African culture, modeling, or just fun photos, here are 10 awesome African-American Instagrammers to follow.
As South By Southwest takes over Austin through March 17, the Capital City African American Chamber of Commerce (CCAACC) in the city is promoting its new Black Technology Council, launched last month.
“Austin is becoming more of a technology epicenter in the US and it was important to me that the organization is aligned with the highest growth industry of the city, which is technology,” said Natalie Madeira Cofield, president and CEO for the CCAACC in Austin. “The Council was developed with the mission to accelerate engagement in entrepreneurship, identify and share best practices, and encourage inclusivity.”
The group launched in February, when they hosted an event featuring a live-stream of a TED Talk, and the Council also hosted a welcome event for black creatives who would be in Austin for SXSW. So far, companies including Google, Dell, Samsung, HP, and smaller tech startups have officially joined the CCAACC and its Black Technology Council, Cofield said, and the organization was featured on the cover of Black Enterprise’s March 2013 issue.
Lola Bakare, a co-chair of the Black Technology Council and the chief of staff/strategy innovation for Dell’s commercial business located in Austin, told MadameNoire that the city has a bit of a leakage problem, as blacks often move to New York, San Francisco, and other larger cities, and that Austin has a slightly smaller percentage of African-Americans compared to the national average.
“It’s critical for us to cultivate that same level of excitement and vibrancy in our city so we don’t have that brain drain and so we can attract people so we can continue to build,” she said. “The council is for everyone who is passionate about ensuring that people of color become a part of this community.”
Cofield added: “We aspire to have this council serve as a way to help Austin recognize its potential as a mecca for black tech talent.”