For African Americans, New Crowdsourcing Initiative Offers Digital Opportunity to Tell Stories Accurately, Reveal Stories Untold - Our Time Press
So who’s controlling the information received, and the edits of information, about people of African descent? And are people of African descent accurately represented among the existing body of articles and among the editors of Wikipedia?
A group led by Brooklyn-based lawyer and blogger Alice Backer has come up with answers and solutions, in the form of a dynamic new initiative called AfroCROWD designed to increase the number of people of African descent, at home and abroad, who actively participate in Wikipedia.
Attorney Backer says, “AfroCROWD is a great opportunity to make sure that people of African descent are accurately represented. If there is something on Wikipedia that you know and can prove is inaccurate or missing, you can change or add it yourself. You just need to find out how and that’s why we’re here.”
So necessary is Ms. Backer’s brainchild that AfroCROWD workshops are popping up all over New York. And that’s no surprise. The AfroCROWD workshops will commence in Brooklyn on Feb. 7th and 8th at the Brooklyn Public Library Main Branch at 10 Grand Army Plaza. “Workshop participants will receive a tutorial into how to edit Wikipedia with plenty of time to explore the platform on their own and to start editing articles of their choice,” adds Backer.
She also notes that the so-called Digital Divide of several years ago is closing.
African-American urban populations, between the ages of 18-29, are the majority of Twitter users; according to Pew Research, “Twenty-two percent of online blacks are Twitter users, compared with 16% of online whites.”
There’s another divide worth noting however: Twitter’s estimated worth is $5.25 billion, making it the third largest digital company in the world. Only the New York-based company Bloomberg L.P. which has an estimated value of $35 billion and the Chinese based company Alibaba Group which has an estimated value of $40 billion outranks Twitter. However, as Twitter recently admitted when pressed by activists, only 2% of its staff is Black, a figure eerily consistent at the headquarters of many tech giants including Facebook, Yahoo and LinkedIn.
African-Americans still trail whites by seven percentage points when it comes to overall use of the Internet (87% of whites and 80% of blacks are internet users), and by twelve percentage points when it comes to home broadband adoption (74% of whites and 62% of blacks have some sort of broadband connection at home).
However, as 21st century technological advances replace traditional learning tools and entertainment resources, Wikipedia is becoming an online university of sorts.
According to Backer, there is an opportunity here for people of color to correct their stories, but also to bring stories untold and hidden online.