The Medium is the Message

Digital Strategist Cheryl Contee, MC Hammer, and Rue, TWTRCON SF 2009

You should know by now that I am passionate about the outdoors, but I also go nuts over social technology that connects people with the messages they care about. The combination of these two non-tangible loves of mine was the genesis for this blog. And this week has been especially inspiring and productive for me around both topics.
On Thursday, I met with Dr.Carol Finney, a dynamic Professor in the College of Natural Resources at Berkeley. My jaw hit the floor after learning from her about all the many unsung African Americans who share our enthusiasm for the outdoors. For example, Audrey and Frank Peterman have been writing about the outdoors in a newsletter and leading tours of the National Parks for decades. A forthcoming blog will share more about this adventuresome couple and others like them in the coming weeks.
Yesterday, I attended Word Camp because I was thinking of moving Outdoor Afro from its current Google platform to Word Press, and wanted to learn more from developers and users about what was possible. Word Camp gave me the technical answers I was looking for and dozens of its attendees expressed enthusiasm for my advocacy of African American participation in outdoor activities.
Right now I’m sitting in TWTRCON, the convention for Twitter, which has quickly become the fastest way to connect with tons of people at one time. Thanks to panelists like MC Hammer, I have some new perspectives on how to use Twitter as one more tool to help black people get outside, 140 characters at a time.
I am deliriously excited about using social media to share the mission of Outdoor Afro, and am grateful you have decided to join me.

Carolyn Finney: Bringing blacks into the Environmental Conversation

I saw this article over a year ago on the Berkeley website and just remembered it as an appropriate share for this blog.
Like myself, Berkeley geographer Carol Finney took the non-traditional path to an undergraduate education and was deeply influenced by both her parent’s relationship to land and her own extensive travel.
Finney believes that contemporary environmental values are not new for African Americans, who have had long agricultural and familial ties to land in this country. She believes that America’s environmental stories, such as those told by John Muir and others, “edit out” the African American experience, and the current environmental movement continues a tradition of leaving African Americans out of the conversation.