Do you think we have a problem with sharing of private information on social networks sites? (Written by Domonique Meeks)

This was a question on one of my discussion boards for school and it made me think about a potential workshop I would like to do in the future.

In my opinion there is no question that we have a problem with sharing our private information on social media. Furthermore, it becomes more evident with each day that there is no such thing as “private” when it comes to what we share, and anything you do online will live there forever.

Making matters worst Facebook seems to want to know where you are, who you are with, how you are feeling, what you like, what you are doing at every second of the day. While this seemed like an innocent way to share and connect with friends, it became scary when we began to find out that this information was being collected and shared for profit with government agencies, retailers and other entities. Barnes’ article states we post our birthdays, pictures of our families, phone numbers, addresses, locations with no regard to who can use this information.

What does it mean when your online activity becomes an extension or snapshot of our identity? With social media like Facebook and Twitter being such popular networking tools, it is very difficult not to over share when trying to connect. Facebook in my opinion is able to do things Linkedin cannot. More of my friends are on Facebook, most of us graduated together, went through the same financial crisis, and we are working our ways through our 20s, dealing with high unemployment rates, a rough housing market, and watching the world change before our eyes. With that said if I am looking for resource or opportunity this is the first place I would go. It be a job, a mechanic, a dog sitter, or just a good place to have coffee. This is where I feel I would get the best results in a timely manner. I was even e-introduced to my mentors on Facebook.

With no visible line to be crossed, depending on your field having no digital presence can sometimes be just as questionable. I remember applying to the iSchool the first time feeling that I needed to clean up my digital footprint. I created two of everything. Needless to say the profiles with my actual name on it were not nearly as exciting or thought provoking. After not getting in, I went on a quest for self identity and realized if a place does not want to accept you for who you truly are, that probably isn’t the place you want to be. Furthermore I had to find my own mission statement and define who I wanted to be, and really ask myself was I that person? From that day forward I started assigning my real name to my work. I also fully understood that the information I was sharing on my alternate social media outlets was nothing that I would be embarrassed to own up too, stand by and speak upon as Domonique Meeks. Being into social justice and speaking out for equality is what makes me who I am. I asked myself what if Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, or Mohammed Ali decided that when they wanted to fight for equality they would do it under different names in fear of missing out on more lucrative opportunities? Both stood for what they believed in and right or wrong we learned from both of there acts of greatness and short comings. With that said I believe the biggest difference between my first and second application to the iSchool was really me understanding who I was, being honest about what I wanted and being able to articulate that in person, on blog, Twitter, and Facebook while not being afraid to do so.

Where things get tricky and scary is the understanding that I did not find my identity or true voice until I was 25. While there were steps taken to get to this identity years before hand, I am guilty of sharing items I have sinced tried to remove off of social media that probably still live somewhere in a database, or on some ones external hard drive. It is important to explain to people especially the generations after mine who have always known the internet that what you share is forever. Although their age and maturity may say that they might not be old enough to not take things at face value, we must find better ways to explain. Every facebook post, check in, like, tweet, favorite, email, etc. is a paper trail left behind.

Some have argued in recent times the younger generation is not using Facebook as much (Dickey 2013). There is speculation that teens have moved on and spend more time on apps like tumblr, youtube, Snapchat and other mobile friendly sites. As Facebook became a household name grandparents, parents and older generations are using the service. For some teens, sharing too much on Facebook, could prove to be too risky. Along came Snapchat, the service known for being the app that promised your picture and video messages would disappear seconds after they were viewed. My introduction was an article a few years back that said teens were using snap chat to sext, and a few months later from some friends who were using Snapchat to send ridiculous pictures to each other. This all without the mention that phones have a screenshot feature.  In the conversations about how great Snapchat there was never any mention that someone would even think twice about screen-shotting the image or even the fact that the content would live online forever to be used by hackers. This education is needed! Here is why: App Behind The Snapchat Leak Admits It Was Hacked, Apologizes (Links to an external site.).

We must find a way to explain that whatever you put on the internet or over a broadband connection has the potential to be used against you for years to come. It is a scary thought, but unfortunately it is true.

Bibliography:

DICKEY, M. (2013, January 11). Surprise: Teenagers Say Facebook Isn’t Their Most Used Site. Retrieved November 2, 2014, Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/most-used-web-products-tumblr-facebook-2013-1#ixzz3HwfP4dxX

Barnes, Susan B. (2006).  A privacy paradox: Social networking in the United States.  First Monday, 11 (9).  Retrieved (November 1, 2014) from http://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/1394/1312

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Busy Bee (Written By AmbassadorNique)

busybee

Wheels up! D and I are on our way to sunshine and Palm trees for the next 3 days. Although this isn’t exactly a vacation hopefully we get an opportunity to slow down a bit. I also hope to change the run and gun ways of our trips and slow down and bit to enjoy the moments being away from the norm.

As I take off I can’t help but notice how the Jhene Aiko’ lyrics stick out to me even more as she sings “there’s no better place than here, no better time than now”, simple yes, but such a true reflection of this moment.

Since my acceptance into the information school life has been moving rather quickly. Meetings, forms, people and places.

I am doing my best to balance the same things I’ve been focused on for the past year and a half. A healthy lifestyle, education, and financial responsibility.

I’ve met some awesome people thus far and it’s amazing how the universe puts you in contact with such great people who then point you in the direction of more great people. As my vision continues to form the number of people who have invested their time into me also grows. Mentors have become close friends and help me sharpen my
tools.

Do it yourself projects have become a new way to a save money. A photography backdrop made of PVC pipes.

FinalBackDropProjectAmbassadorNique

BackdropProjectAmbassadorNique

 

An 8×4 foot dry erase white board that only cost me $13!

LowesWhiteBoardAmbassadorNique

Time!!
One thing we cannot buy nor get back… We must take advantage. I personally would like to be better with my time. I’ve honestly gotten comfortable being 10 minutes late or prioritizing wrapping up last minute projects or chores before heading out. I do not want the reputation of the person who is always late to everything. I want to be a better estimator of time and error on the side of being early. I also would like to take 1 hour a night for me! At 10pm every night i want to spend 10 minutes meditating, 30 minutes reading and the rest writing, relaxing or whatever else I decide.

Until next time!

AmbassadorNique

Comfort is the enemy of dream chasing (Written by AmbassadorNique)

Its been awhile but I’ve been vlogging and journalist.. here’s a blog!

Japan countdown: 14 Days!

Okay so I had this long post written in detail but I’ll give you the short story. Last night I re-watched my old DomoVlogs from when I lived in Japan (circa 2010), how they were maybe to honest, ignorant and immature. This led me to listening to old songs I made back in the day. Hearing how unpolished ignorant about happiness, money, love and life was a bit too real. While I still have a lot of growing up to do, I am not ashamed of past thoughts, but more importantly today I want to write about comfort.

Comfort is something I feel like most people aspire to achieve. Like success, comfort is relative and someone’s ceiling is another person’s floor. We were sold the dream that if we go to college and cross the finish line we would receive a piece of paper, a decent job at the least and be able to live comfortably. These were the bare minimums. I cannot say that this is not true, because with some help from my family, I was able to make this happen after a year or two. However, recently comfort has become my worst enemy.

If you have been following me you know my 3 goals this year are Good health, education and better financial decisions. Comfort costs a lot of money and can be time consuming. Its something that we strive for but once I figured out that settling down, buying a house, getting married, and having kids wasn’t the life for me, life had to be re-evaluated. Not that there is anything wrong with that life, its just not for me. I always wanted the freedom to express myself, and share my art with whomever would watch/listen. Aspiring for comfort also meant doing things I did not want to, and looking for acceptance from people that don’t necessarily matter. We find comfort in the things we buy, nice clothes, cars, art, furniture, acceptance etc. Not understanding to maintain this comfort we will dig us deeper and deeper into a life that we do not control. Rather a life that is controlled by our income, and outsiders.

From what I understand most Americans have the ability to sign a promissory note to get a loan for college, can finish undergrad, sign up for more loans go to graduate school, and make a living working somewhere that will pay them a decent if not good salary that will allow them to payback their loans with interest, put a down payment on a house, a car some nice toys to live…. Comfortable. I get it, people just want to be happy and by no means do I look down on these people, because I too at one time or another wanted to be these people. Now… nothing scares me more than becoming one of these people. I know for a fact this was not, and is not MY dream.

I HOPE I HAVN’T LOST YOU!

I know I just painted a really black and white picture. Everyone’s wants something different and I do my best not to judge. Furthermore by no means do I want to seem hypocritical when I apply to graduate school next year. I was like most people who graduated college in this race to change the world, get paid for it to buy toys and gain “success”. What is success if you are not doing what it is you want to be doing? “Victory to me is when you spend your time right…” Success is having the freedom and power to do what we want to do with your time. Vanity will not get me closer to that, a student loan will not get me closer to that, and unless it’s get a degree I want even a Masters degree will not get me closer to Freedom! To me life is about experiences and the more comfortable I live, the less life I will experience. There are those who would disagree, and would argue children are the greatest gift in life, and money will afford you those life experiences, but personally for me right here right now at 26… hard work, opportunity and artistic freedom have provided me the greatest experiences I’ve had thus far.

SOLUTION!

I made a vow to never complain without coming up with a potential solution. My solution is to continue to scale down my life, continue to be realistic with myself about what it is I need to do. Money is not everything, but it IS important. Also important is knowing your worth (but that’s a completely different discussion altogether). Saving money is even more important. Most of the people I grew up around didn’t inherit anything with any sort of monetary value. Some of them were lucky enough to inherited culture, traditions and family heirlooms. But the solution for me is to create that tradition, create that culture. I hope my road to Fuji inspires my future children, nieces and nephews, and their children to carry on tradition to go climb Mt. Fuji like my father did in 1988/’89. In my opinion the best way to hold myself accountable to creating my art and staying on my path of creativity, education, good health and better financial responsibility  is to avoid living comfortable. Comfort is the enemy of dream chasing.

Stay focused stay hungry,

Domonique Meeks
AmbassadorNique Productions

Connecting the dots (Written by AmbassadorNique)

This feels different… This past weekend while spring cleaning I had an epiphany. Forced to think about life, and wondering what could I be doing better to achieve different results than the ones I was getting, I came up with a solution. The issue reached its peak Friday morning when I received a denial letter from the University of Washington’s iSchool for their mid career program. Obviously I was a bit angry and down, but realistically  I definitely applied knowing I didn’t have the years expiereince they were looking for in a ”mid career” student. This is definitely not to say that I couldn’t hang with any other student in their program intellectually, or that my perspectives and experiences could not provide them with new outlooks. I knew I was taking a shot in the dark, and unfortunately I missed. At that point you can either stop shooting and go home, or you can continue to map out a way to make things happen.

What was my epiphany?

My epiphany was I don’t need anyone to validate my vision or my aspirations. Paying $30K+ for a piece of paper is not a down payment on happiness. In my opinion happiness is something we make happen for ourselves. There are things I could be doing NOW to get to where I ultimately want to be.

Furthermore, I started thinking more about identity, and how I’d been blogging my truths and my life under an alias in order to protect myself from those who wouldn’t agree, or take offense to my truths. Was I afraid to share? What would people think? What if I had gramatical errors? lol

I guess through my journey of finding out who I really am I became someone whom could care less about who found my gramatical mistakes, who was offended, and whom just didn’t agree.

Naturally when I separated my government name from my beliefs, it was for acceptance, thinking about the consequences if someone with power found my blog posts on social justice and discussions on race and fighint against institutional oppression? At the time I was unemployed, I just wanted to be someone a job would hire! Wow, how wack is that? I would be embarrassed  but this is my truth and I KNOW that I am not the only one who was hiding.

Great women and men stand behind their words and their truths. They are students and life long learners able to admit what it is that they do not know. My goal is not to be famous, or even to change the world anymore. Today, my goal is to tell my story, tell my truth, express my opinions and find out more about myself. So today I merge my brand with my name and I stand behind my thoughts, my passions, my words, as a progressive and forward thinker. Yes, I still have a lot to learn, but who doesn’t? I predict I will use language that could offend, I will say things that may be incorrect or inaccurate, but I wont be the first and I am sure I won’t be the last.

Today I know who I am, and I know the power of my words, do you?

-Domonique Meeks
AmbassadorNique Productions

More supporters less critics… let art be art.. (Written By AmbassadorNique)

Oh how the time flies… I recently wrote a blog post, but before writing this one sadly I wasn’t sure if I had posted it… I did… This just means I haven’t been writing enough. Lately I’ve been working on a graduate school application trying to sum up my life in 7 very general questions that don’t seem to ask much about the person I have transformed into through life experiences  I guess that’s life, we have to bend the rules in order to freely express ourselves and still manage to get what we want out of it.

I’ve been doing a decent job of sharing things that inspire me lately on this blog. Last night the Pharrell interview with Henry Rollins really inspired me. It made me feel like I wasn’t crazy. YES, I am not the only one who thinks that equality and justice should be common sense. We are far from perfect beings, but we are slowly moving in the direction of enlightenment.

I am trying to catch myself when blogging in order to find some sort of direction. Inspiration is always nice to find but often times the same things that I post that affect me can affect us all. From the recent Boston bombings to drone strikes. However, this is not a news blog.. If you want the news follow NPR or something, however I do my best to add my perspective on situations. Bloging to me is a form of art. Articulation to me is art. Being able to put together words is important to me, to tell your truth and deliver information. Factual or fiction its all in the delivery. My writing skills are not amazing, but its easier to freely right a blog and not care if it will be broken down and torn apart since there is little consequence for my opinion!

Insert Segway here…

The other day I sat back thinking about all the time I spent as an amateur Hip Hop artist. When I say amateur, I mean nobody really heard it, except for a few of my friends and my family. I thank them for their ears, their criticism, their support, their honesty, and for some their lies. Lol. Recording music was my way to express myself, even when expressing pure ignorance, I was telling my truth as I knew it. I look back on the enjoyment I received when a song was completed and ready to be shared and I remember how much I enjoyed those moments. At some point life got involved and I began to see that I was in too deep and what was once a hobby, and a way to express myself became open for interpretation by anyone who would listen. It changed from a hobby to me to a DREAM that I wanted, and the goal was less about therapy and more about trying to get paid. I’m not sure when that happened; I’m not sure when I realized it wasn’t feasible. One day I just stopped. I became a critic like everyone else examining and dissecting everyone else’s art. It sounds horrible but it’s the truth. Today, art is art to me. I have my opinions, but it’s like religion, your god may not be my god and I’m okay with that. You enjoy what you enjoy because of why you enjoy it. That’s all that matters to me. I will support the art that I enjoy and life will be okay for all of us. On the flip side I will defend the art that I like to the fullest if debates occur, and still think some art is GARBAGE (haha). It’s not that the art I like is better than what you like, but it’s like saying “I have the best mom.” She may not actually be THE best, but shes MY mom… so no doubt I will defend her honor.

I’m wrapping up this grad school app, still on my work out plan, still cooking, and not yet learning my Japanese. The days are going by faster and I’m determined to make the most of the extra day light we have. Stay focused.

-Ambassador

Just My Thoughts: Discussing Oppression in African American Identity (Written By AmbassadorNique)

I had a great conversation about identity with a Nigerian graduate student today. The conversation started because she had mentioned that the church she attends here in Seattle had been talking identity, and the significance and the importance of community. I told her that recently I had been thinking about my role in my community. How I am currently struggling to find a community to attach myself to as a young African American recent college graduate now living in Seattle. There is always the excuse of time, but nevertheless it’s personally something I am working on.

I told her that I had been reading Ronald Takaki’s: A Different Mirror lately and learning about the history of migration to America. Her next question to me was one that caught me off guard. Her question was, why are you reading this? And why do you think African Americans feel the need to always hold on and personalize past oppressions? She said she meant no disrespect by the question, but she had gotten in disagreements with friends when she asked them what good could come from it and why they could not just move forward. She felt like it was hurting African Americans more than it was helping them. Ironically I had discussed a similar conversation recently. I’ve been told that holding on to such oppression is a “slave mentality” and that thinking this way just proves furthermore that shackles have been placed on the brains of African Americans without us knowing it.  

I am far from an expert in this subject and I can only speak from my opinions, my thoughts, my experiences, and my assumptions. I told her personally I was reading the book to learn more about the country I live in. Everything that I have read thus far have been events that I felt like I should have learned back in middle school. Yet truth is we were only taught surface level facts and white lies.

In my opinion African Americans as a race have been stripped of their connection and importance to this country and to the world through slavery. Slavery may have happened a little over a century ago but I explained to her for African American’s many of our families cannot trace our roots back further than the South.

Psychologically I feel as though this affects us in many different ways. There is a feeling from recent generations that they would rather be considered “black” and not “African” American because they do not consider themselves to actually be from Africa. While I am not one of the people who agrees with this sentiment, I am beginning to understand it. Stories of slavery were rarely passed down to African American families, furthermore the forced migration processes that took place from most of our ancestors was not discussed either. While we all know as a culture this was our contribution to America, most of us do not have specific details or know where our people migrated from before ending up in the south. Therefore, there is no direct connection. For many cultures who migrated to America, while there is still a loyalty to America as home; there is a since of cultural pride when it comes to their country of origin. African American’s are expected to be prideful to a continent they have no family connection too.

I hope I haven’t lost you, Digging even deeper into the subject we discussed travel and location. Things that many of us take for granted like thinking globally. What effect does having a family connection to an area outside of the United States have on a persons mindset. The urge to learn about these area’s, the urge to travel to these areas? Without this connection the bridge has been broken. Not every person has this urge, but I feel like as we get older and start to learn more about identity and discover, the information is a lot harder to come by for African Americans.

On a simpler note, how about the infatuation with “blocks” or hoods or geographical locations. While there is so much that plays into this, could this be a cry of wanting to feel a deeper belonging. Wanting to feel as though they are a part of something? Nevertheless this is their community.  While there are China Towns, and Little Italy’s, and Little Japan’s or some sort of the same all around the United States that cultures take pride in, African American communities never get the credit deserved. They have been too often been reduced impoverished neighborhoods through illegal housing practices, corrupt business practices, and a drug infested communities. That’s a whole other conversation.

My conversation with this young lady was abruptly ended by an interruption. My last opinion was this, even as we strive everyday to be successful, for many African Americans it becomes a stressful journey when you look around and realize that the higher you climb up the latter in this country the less African Americans you see. That internalized oppression can be scary when you are treated like the exception to your race.

In writing this I have more questions than ever. Maybe looking to deeply into oppression is a bad thing. It can easily consume who you are as a person. Personally, I guess I am still in search of truth, and history. I feel a since of social responsibility to know things, and to be educated and speak from factual opinions. I don’t know everything there is to know about anything, but as long as there is information, and books readily available I feel that we have the opportunity to learn and educate ourselves. 

Truth v. Intention Thoughts on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebrations (Written By AmbassadorNique)

**Disclaimer**

These thoughts are mine and mine only. Most may not be as well thought out as they should have been, but the following submission was more therapeutic to me than it was about reader satisfaction. Nevertheless… ENJOY…

———————————————————————————————————————-

The birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was this past Tuesday. As a 25 year old African American male this is a day I take much pride in, and can only begin to understand the significance of. The day it is celebrated constantly reminds me of the number of minority freedom fighters in this country that never had their stories told in our school history books. I guess that complaint can be used for a lot of things in this country so I will spare you with my long list of individuals like Marcus Garvey, Delores Huerta, Huey P. Newton, Yuri Kochiyama just to name a few.

The reason I actually decided to write about MLK this morning was not necessarily because I thought it would be a bold and noble thing to do, however, yesterday I was afforded the opportunity to attend an MLK celebration. I will admit initially I did not want to attend because I’ve seen how disastrous these things can turn out. I guess I wanted to avoid disappointment. I understand that there are a lot of people of all races and ethnicities who work really hard to put on these celebrations and as a young black male I should be thankful that an African American whom looks like me that is such a prominent human being is being celebrated. No doubt MLK was a phenomenal individual who deserves to be celebrated and honored by all Americans.

I decided to attend anyway. Like I mentioned before I initially did not want to attend, but the caliber of the institution that was putting on this celebration gave me high hopes that I would learn something new about the most celebrated African American in history. Even if I didn’t learn anything new maybe I would hear about how MLK inspired someone else to change the world.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get that…

Instead, I got the usual singing of Lift Every Voice (Black National Anthem), two men tap dancing for entertainment, a butchered speech about how we need to be mentors to today’s children so that they can be afforded the opportunities of privilege in this country (true indeed…), and a slam poetry reading. I just left the celebration very disappointed and unfulfilled.

The Return of The King Boondocks episode kept playing in my head over and over again. What if Martin Luther King Jr. came back today and saw the state of black America? What would he say? Maybe that’s not a fair question. There are many sides to that question from both the realistic look at celebrated black culture and the taking a closer look at the continued oppression from the oppressors whom hold the power to make institutional change. A more realistic question, what if he was able to attend this celebration? Would he be proud that the only gifts being highlighted amongst his people were STILL dancing, a form of music and other forms of entertainment?

I never want to bring a problem without giving a solution. My solution would be how about next time since the institution is filled with many diverse doctors and scholars whom hold years of academic, work, and life experience and stories; We give these individuals a voice and opportunity to speak about their lives and their experiences. Share with us their inspirations. Give a voice to the voiceless. Create some new leaders whom we could be proud to speak about and celebrate.  This event to me felt like politics as usual something that was thrown together because it was simply tradition to do so.

It is not enough just to be satisfied with mere acknowledgement anymore. We must set higher expectations for the way minorities are represented and celebrated. This includes representation by white people whom are seen as the dominate American race, by other minorities, and by each other.

All of us hold ignorance in this world, and it is my goal to continue to educate myself and seek answers. I hope that we all will continue to do the same. Today this is my truth. I only hope that my words will spark thought and will inspire others.

Through it all I am thankful that such a great man can be celebrated by so many people every year for giving his life for humanity, equality, his beliefs, and sacrifice. I hope to one day have a pinch of the courage that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had, and one can only dream to leave such a legacy. I am determined to try, and I vow to look at the world through the truthful lenses that is reality with my ambition, my struggle, and my life.

-Ambassador 

Ambassador Thoughts… (Written By AmbassadorNique)

O_o Life… How time heals all wounds and changes past grudges into old forgotten memories. The beauty of the sunrise is that tomorrow brings gifts that we may or may not appreciate. Many say that you should not dwell in the past and always look forward. On some instances I agree, however… Sometimes in revisiting the past you find old gems once forgotten that bring meaning to the present. Beauty in the moments and small things that made you who you are today. These things make you appreciate the ones you love that much more. The realization of the bigger picture. The realization that our thoughts, our morals and our values were once seeds planted and watered that grew into life. Yes there will always be struggle, there will always be obstacles, but no struggle is forever and as long as we continue to wake up any wound can be healed and any relationship can be patched. Mistakes are made and tempers flare, but in these moments understanding is most important. Always dig deeper than surface level and see an image larger than what is presented. Reality is much bigger than the perception of an outsider. Do what you can to share moments and spend time with the people you love. Dedication and commitment will always be important, but the commitment and dedication one has to his or her family must take top priority. Life is good. Week 2 of work is finished… Pay Day is tomorrow… and today is the birthday of a woman I love dearly. Let me Learn… Let me grow… Let me continue to make mistakes.. Let me continue to stay focused. 

Ambassador