New Orleans--There's a story about a lion in a cage that paces back and forth at a slow rate, seeking a way out. It takes the lion four hundred years to find the door. And now, with modern equipment, he is moving at a faster rate with more area to cover. Sounds familiar?
With the advancement of modern technology in the arena where people communicate with one another, the idea of social media has sky rocketed over the past decades. From the introduction of Internet and email services, the new information highway of outlets such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and others are broadening the reach of the people globally. As a result, injustices are being exposed, global movements are growing and this is leading to an expected rise in the people in the years to come.
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan tweeted, "Social media should facilitate the cause of friendship and the passing of knowledge. The advancement of technology can be used for evil or good. We make it valid by the way we use it."
Such was the purpose of Houston social media strategist and blogger Jesse Muhammad's social media workshop at Muhammad's Mosque No. 46 in New Orleans on March 30. Student Minister Willie Muhammad hosted this workshop to inform the Believers of the power of social media. “I was looking for a way to further show the Believers how we could use social media to promote the Teachings of The Honorable Elijah Muhammad and that it could be used in a constructive and meaningful way," he said. Not only did Bro. Jesse accomplish the task, he also helped Bro. Willie's wife overcome her reservations about tweeting as well.
Using an analogy of Superfly's time warped experience in the movie 'I'm Gonna Get You Sucka', Bro. Jesse helped his audience to truly understand the detrimental effects of using outdated equipment and tactics in modern times. Also, how not to be discouraged using the modern technology because so many others are using it to promote filth and indecency.
He shared that we could use these tools in the following ways: network, inform, inspire, educate, fish, market and promote. Using it for these purposes helps to free the minds of the masses, he informed the audience. But most important of all, the element of engagement is required in all of the above to be successful in getting your ideas across.
“The power is in the engagement of the people," he said. "Minister Farrakhan engages his Twitter followers and answers questions. He loves Twitter because it helps him with the Mission," said Bro. Jesse, dispelling the myth that age is a reason for not engaging.
To prove his point, he introduced to the eager crowd Patrick Melon, one of his Twitter followers who came from Baton Rouge (an hour away) to participate in the workshop. This was the first time they had ever met in person after interacting via Twitter for about two years!
When asked what motivated him to attend the workshop, Mr. Melon said that over the two years of following Bro. Jesse, he got something substantial from him. "He has a really good online presence and I appreciate his humility."
He was also intrigued about hearing Minister Farrakhan's thoughts on social media. "We have to use whatever medium necessary to promote our cause. Dissemination of information is necessary to promote our cause" said Mr. Melon.
Though he was still sporting a flip phone and had an initial aversion to the modern technology, Charles Muhammad of Mosque No. 46 gave the workshop a rating of 5 stars! "It helped me with understanding Twitter," Bro. Charles said. And as a result, he started his own Twitter account, gained followers instantly and posted his first tweets.
Even the youth, Samirah Muhammad (13), Surayyah Muhammad (15) and Salihah Muhammad (18) came to see, for the first time, the righteous benefits in using social media.
Sis. Samirah observed that there are people using social media for things beyond degenerative activities. And Sis. Salihah concluded that it can be “beneficial to help people build a Nation.”
Student Secretary Phyllis Muhammad thoroughly enjoyed the workshop and learned so much. She loved seeing how Minister Farrakhan uses these modern tools to reach our people. "It is a valuable tool to help propagate the faith and reach those who may never step through the doors of the mosque. It is a great platform for us to defend any opposition to the Truth we have been given," she said.
Following the workshop, it was time to use practical application of the lessons learned. The Believers of Mosque No. 46 made NOI history by being the first to implement a Tweet-Up. A Tweet-Up is an organized Twitter face-to-face meet-up where people come together offline for a common cause and Tweet about it. The common cause that evening was Minister Farrakhan’s 52-week series, “The Time and What Must Be Done.”
Everyone at the mosque joined others from across the globe as they live tweeted words from Minister Farrakhan from their smartphones and laptops as they watched Part 12. With the hashtags #TheTime and #Farrakhan, they helped to spread the truth to those in the virtual world.