From left to right: Robiann Broomfield, Nyunyu Adiang, Jamaine Abidogun, Keysha Wilson and Rachel Hough
Jevon Bausby, The Black Bear – Facebook, along with other social networks such as Twitter, Group Me and Instagram, seemed to be the most effective communication tool for African born immigrant students at Missouri State University.
These networks assist the students in making connections across the African Diaspora.
On Oct. 21, 2016, a student panel discussion was held by the Mid-America Alliance for African students in Plaster Student Union. The students gave insights on how social media changed their worldviews, the benefits of making and keeping connections and how the usage of social media allows them to experience Afrocentric cultures.
“Ultimately, I wanted the attendees to get a better understanding on how social media has played such an impacting role for us African born immigrants in the United States,” said panel member Precious Awopetu, junior exercise and movement science major.
According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a diaspora is, “the movement, migration, or scattering of a people away from an established or ancestral homeland.”
The panelists agreed the usage of GroupMe, a group messaging app, and Facebook help improve communication with family back home better than any other existing social networks. They mentioned how these networks provide extra tools and resources to enhance not only the quality but the significance of communication.
With GroupMe, students can talk with several people once sharing the same message thread. This allows them to engage in important discussions such as event planning.
With Facebook, the students mentioned how this helps the events get viewed by many others. It allows for their events and conferences to be advertised so people can learn about them and hopefully attend.
The conference also touched on the challenges of social media ranging from misrepresentation of African Diaspora cultures to cross-cultural communication problems within the African Diaspora.
Race and the recent killings of unarmed black men by the police seemed to come up frequently when discussing the cross-cultural problems.
“I experienced my first bit of racism once I moved over to America,” Ayodamola Oluyemi, sophomore public relations major, said. “I feel free and not being on edge when I go back home which is a very comfortable feeling.”
Marquita Logan, senior psychology major, felt like the conference didn’t go into detail on the negative aspect of race and social media.
“I expected to hear more about how the mainstream media affects them, it was brought up briefly with the killings of the black men but didn’t quite make full circle,” said Logan. “I feel like it went off into different things which is most likely going to happen when you’re talking to black people as far as that umbrella, we’re going to all talk about the struggle we’ve been in personally.”