Most times, the resolutions are fights; sometimes it ends in murder. In Chicago, 14-year-old Endia Martin was gunned down when a fight over a boy led to a Facebook beef.
Endia’s stepfather, Kent Kennedy, told the Chicago Tribune Endia and the suspect had been feuding on Facebook. “They had words and she gunned our daughter down. For what? What reason would another girl gun down another child?
I am currently touring college campuses with The Black Social Network play, an educational skit (sponsored by GM_Diversity) that is designed to encourage college students to be mindful of their online reputations. In my conversations with students, I have been told that reputation is everything; and when a conflict arises on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, it is absolutely imperative to get the last word.
One study proved it.
“What’s taking place online is what’s taking place in the streets,” David Pyrooz, an assistant professor at Sam Houston State University who has studied gangs and social media in five big cities, told MSN. “The Internet does more for a gang’s brand or a gang member’s identity than word-of-mouth could ever do. It really gives the gang a wide platform to promote their reputations. They can brag about women, drugs, fighting … and instead of boasting to five gang members on a street corner, they can go online and it essentially goes viral. It’s like this electronic graffiti wall that never gets deleted.”
For some, when a Facebook beef gets out of control, violence and murder is considered a brutal form of reputation management.
The beef needs to stop online before it manifests in real-life.
This is going to be a long, hot summer in Chicago, and in major cities all across the country, so we must re-educate our teens, employ them, and inspire them to want to win and live–not beef, fight and die.
*This article is reprinted courtesy of Six Brown Chicks.
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Zondra Hughes is CEO of the Six Brown Chicks and executive producer of The Black Social Network Play college tour. Follow her on Twitter @zondrahughes.