I’m sure that by now, no one is a stranger to the terms ‘diversity or ‘inclusion.’ Throughout the years, and even more so now, companies have been discussing ways in which they could ‘diversify’ their workforce, services, and any other offerings. One industry that is involved in making these changes? The Social Media Industry.
Linda Dianne (Video/Social Media Strategist at Diversify Social Media) and Milly Tamarez (Freelance Social Media Manager and Comedian) teamed up to discuss the importance of diversity on social media on their How Diversify Social Media Creates More Opportunity for BIPOC Podcast. Linda and Milly began by introducing listeners to what “Diversify Social Media” is and how it began.
Diversify Social Media started in the Summer of 2020 when the death of George Floyd rattled the world and people took to the streets to protest the unfair and unjust treatment against him and many others. During this time, there were many conversations regarding what brands could and should be doing to help. Milly Tamarez mentioned that brands were talking about what they could do. However, industries were not discussing what they could do as a whole to minimize the damages being inflicted upon other communities. Unfortunately, no one had answers to these questions. Some believed that an Instagram post was enough, others believed that doing nothing was enough. This is what led to the start of Diversify Social Media (DSM).
Through DSM they are working on minimizing the barriers for the BIPOC community and allowing them to have an accessible education on topics such as community management, social media analytics, paid advertisement, and content creation. These four areas, Linda says, are the basics and must-knows when getting into the social media realm. People can take all four courses or the ones they are most interested in, free of charge. Through this initiative, they are providing the BIPOC community with opportunities that could otherwise be hard for them to access. Because like they mentioned in the podcast, the road that BIPOC have to travel just to get to the same place as their peers is filled with so many obstacles and is built to make them more likely to fail.
As the conversation switched to Linda and Milly talking about their hardships being part of the BIPOC or Latinx community, I couldn’t help but feel identified with what they were saying. They mentioned that many times people think that by adding just one BIPOC person they are already diverse. Don’t think it’s true? They urged readers to think about “TV Shows or Movies” that add one minority character just to add a bit of diversity, and nothing else. In reality, it’s not just about hiring someone new, but about giving them the platform and support for them to voice their thoughts and help bring diversity to the organization. It’s but about the constant work that has to be done to close the gap that has been there for far too long.
Towards the end of the podcast, Linda was asked, “What brand is having this real and authentic conversation?” She said she needed to wait a few years to answer that question. She mentioned that she has been the only Latinx woman at the table and the weight has been on her to provide that sense of diversity, which is why she wants to wait and see if they will continue to do the work and are not just doing it to impress others. This resonated with me because I have often been in the same position. I completely understand Linda’s point of view. As a Latinx woman, I have firsthand seen the gap in the representation of other cultures. I have also had that pressure on me to provide a sense of diversity and it’s difficult to be the person bearing all the weight.
Learning more about the gap in the Social Media Industry was very disheartening. However, I appreciate companies like Diversify Social Media that work to change the narrative on inclusion. Who also let people know that it’s more than what we say, but what we do to close the gap seen with BIPOC and other communities. Who offer the BIPOC community resources that they have been kept from for far too long. Milly said: “The fight for true diversity, inclusivity, and acceptance for all is still ongoing… something has shifted, and things have changed. But it is a process that we have to continue working and optimizing.” Thanks for reading and I hope that we can all “continue to work and optimize” together.