There are over 1 billion people on Facebook and 261 million on Twitter worldwide. In the U.S., 214 million are on Facebook and 69 million on Twitter. As well, there are over 84 million on Snapchat, and 77 million active Instagram users in the U.S., both of which attract younger people.
In other words, social media is the ideal place to spread and discuss any ideas or information quickly, and to reach as many people as possible.
With Black History month beginning February 1, harnessing social media to spread vital information about the contributions of Black Americans in specific, and the people, countries, and cultures of Africa more generally, is critical. This is especially true given the longstanding negative portrayal of Africa and everything related to it.
1. Post short nuggets of Black History
Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said to, “make your prayers lengthy and your Khutbas brief, for there is charm in eloquent speech” (Muslim).
This Sunnah is key to effectiveness online. Take a short fact and share it on your social media platform. It can range from information about Black inventors and scientists, to tracing common practices in our culture back to Black culture.
2. Post interesting photos
This is especially true of Snapchat and Instagram, the two mediums which take the idiom “a picture is worth a thousand words” up a notch. If you have pictures of yourself, family, or friends and feel comfortable sharing them, those would be an excellent addition to the existing material traditionally shared during Black History Month.
In particular, photos of Black Muslims in America, even if they are from the last 30 years, would be a great way to share the history of how Islam developed in the United States more recently.
3. Choose a great hashtag
Hashtags are like doors to the material you post on your social media account. They lead people who aren’t your followers to what you post as well. Keep them relevant and the shorter the better. Obvious ones include #blackhistory and #black excellence and #blackpride. You can find more here.
4. Start and join conversations
Social media is about conversation. That means not just posting material on your social media accounts, but sharing it via discussions on Twitter and Facebook, for example. This adds to how many followers you gain as well.
So when you see something relating to Black history or contributions being discussed, jump right in and participate. You can post something from your social media accounts, or you can simply be part of the conversation and repost what you are already sharing.
5. Sources of info
While there are many sources of information on Black History, some that are more focused on the topic from a Muslim angle include:
NPR interview Dr. Sulayman Nyang on Black Muslims in America
Sound Vision’s page on Black History