Wake up, freshen up, eat breakfast, check phone for missed text messages, calls and tweets. For the more than one in ten African Americans on Twitter, social media has become an integral part of our daily routine. It has adopted the role of news generator, friend connector and therapeutic ventilator. However, people all over the world are beginning to utilize social media for much more. Just ask the youth of Egypt and Sudan.
For starters, the connection between social media users in the U.S. and political entities remains low. While an estimated 15 percent of Americans are on Twitter, less than one percent follow the White House. The Oval office recently celebrated its @WhiteHouse account reaching a scathing three million followers.
Interestingly, the same Pew research revealed that African Americans and Latinos are amongst the majority of Twitter users in the U.S. A whopping 19 percent of Latinos and 28 percent of African-Americans are on Twitter, compared to the relatively lower nine percent of whites.
This data reveals two interesting potential items. It emphasizes the critical need for minority communities to find channels through which they can voice their opinions. Secondly, it reveals that despite leading the market share of Twitter users, the U.S. is lagging in maximizing its potential in the political sphere.
CNN's Mohammed Jamjoom argues that Twitter and Facebook were essential in organizing the Arab Spring in Egypt. Dubbed the "Twitter Revolution," the use of Twitter to disseminate information and mobilize people was critical.
More impressive is the use of Twitter despite the shutting down of Internet in Egypt. Egyptians used Speak2Tweet (S2T), a service aimed at increasing Twitter accessibility by allowing people to leave voicemails that were then transcribed to Twitter. A tool that is now used in Sudan, having myself worked extensively with the #SudanRevolts S2T team.
As an African-American college student and recent "tweeter," such information has begged the question of why not us? If one in ten African-American Internet users visit Twitter daily, which is double the rate for Latinos and four times that for whites, then why has there been no mobilization efforts amongst the African-American community through the social media?
Issues such as gun violence, disparities in education and poverty and the injustices of the judicial system are all loud enough cases to make a nation cringe, unite, mobilize and reinvent. And while Twitter is by no means the solution to our problems, it is a powerful tool that can better centralize a community, just as it did during the Trayvon Martin campaign. The use of the #JusticeforTrayvon hashtag, for example, gained an unprecedented momentum that lead to prompt responses from lawmakers.
College educated African Americans have by far the most potential through Twitter, one that can eclipse any other international community. We can voice our opinions directly to the president and his administration -- en masse.
If the Egyptian youth can fuel a revolution through Twitter, even when there is no Internet accessibility, our community can achieve the impossible.
So the next time you tweet, remember the power that lies within your 140 characters.