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"Change Doesn't Happen On Its Own": What You and Social Media Can Do

June 18, 2010

share_this_200px_72dpiProgressive Women's Voices alumna, Deanna Zandt, has just released her new book Share This! How You Will Change the World With Social Networking. Already receiving wide praise from scholars and activists, Deanna will be discussing her book at Donnybrook, 35 Clinton Street, New York, NY, TONIGHT, from 7 to 9pm. On Wednesday, Deanna gave a talk at Bluestockings about the ideas and experiences that shaped the writing of the book. Recalling an incident that made headlines last summer--a private country club in Philadelphia banning African-American children from using their pool for fear that they might change the club's "complexion" and "atmosphere"--Deanna remembered being outraged, and, like many others, shared the news on Twitter and Facebook. What surprised her was not so much how the news quickly spread, but how, following the incident, people of color began to share their own memories of their facing racial discrimination as children. Reading these stories not only exposed Deanna to the painful experiences of others, but made her see the role of social media in making that happen. "I wouldn't have had that experience without social media," she said. "Thanks to social stratification...I wouldn't have necessarily found myself in a group of people of color offline sharing these experiences with one another. Even if I had, my whiteness would have changed that dynamic in the room and rightly so..." Deanna's book explores, among other things, how social media can provide a space for people to tell their stories at their own initiative and on their own terms. "As we start to explore social media..., we're confronting this huge opportunity to bring in all these voices who are otherwise ignored or might be dismissed and removed from public discourse in the past." But, of course, social media cannot make a difference for the better in and of itself: "Change doesn't happen on its own. It requires you and your stories to participate."