183 reads of Whiteout In Mainstream America: Slave Ancestored Genealogy ~ Our Truth in Black & White. 17 emails and 9 inbox messages via Facebook asking for updates and offering support.
I have no elevator version of my exchange with Kicking Up the Past to share tonight. Not adding my spin to our back and forth, because it would be laced with my own sarcasm and irritation at this point.
Below are our previous exchanges — verbatim. Read them as you will. Interpret them as you like.
The only personal commentary I’ll add [repeated] — asking a question is neither an act of aggression or anger. Speaking the simple truth is not hatred or hostility.
As long as there’s a disparity in how the Enslaved Africans narrative is shared, displayed and/or acknowledged — my voice will be heard. And if there’s a question to be asked — I have NO ISSUE asking it.
I’ve been online as a genealogist for 14 years and an advocate for civil, social and human rights for almost 30 years. That’s not changing anytime soon.
10.8.13 — Luckie’s follow-up email after multiple queries & direct message via Twitter
I’m Luckie Daniels the African-American genealogist who inquired via Twitter (@AAGSARFacebook) if and/or how Kicking Up The Past planned to include the African-American slave experience in the upcoming documentary/KickStarter project.
I’m unsure why an email communication is warranted [per your request] and/or why the response to my multiple tweets couldn’t be received by way of Twitter. The greatest benefit of Twitter is communications are real-time and allow for a seamless exchange between parties. Tweets are also best [and most effective] when they focus on engagement of the target audience, and not strictly marketing of projects/products.
As I expressed in my Direct Message earlier, I’ve been online with my research for 15 years — since there was an Internet and Ancestry. My family blogs are www.OurGeorgiaRoots.com, www.OurAlabamaRoots.info and www.DanielsIsMyName.com. Personal blog — www.TheArtofBeingLuckie.com. Business blog — www.ShesHappyGoLuckie.com.
A GOOGLE Search of my name “Luckie Daniels” will speak to my social media presence, blogging, community advocacy and research online. I have recently created a work group collaborative forum [via Facebook] to assist African American genealogy researchers with honing their skills, building their technology tool-kit and bringing their research online — African American Genealogy & Slave Ancestry Research (AAGSAR).
My question is straightforward — you’ve recently been promoting the 10/10 launch of your KickerStarter [crowd funding] historical project via Twitter. Though we’ve seen *tweets*mentioning Native American ancestry, I’ve not seen any mention of African-American ancestry being of interest. Is the African American historical experience going to be included in the Kicking Up History American perceptive?
As a social media facing, crowd-funded initiative, its important to be specific regarding the project’s scope and target audience. If sharing of African-American historical stories isn’t within the scope of your project, following and/or soliciting to the online African-American research audience is inappropriate.
Likewise, if Kicking Up History is leveraging social media to market the upcoming campaign, you should expect queries and consider addressing them, via the same platforms.
Thanks and I look forward to your prompt response.
Luckie Daniels | AAGSAR | @AAGSARFacebook
10.9.13 — Kicking Up the Past response to 1st email
We appreciate your aggressive enthusiasm. While we don’t recall signing up to a set of protocol when opening our Twitter accounts, we’ll take you at your word that you been around since the beginning of the internet. We who are far less experienced than you choose to use regular old-fashioned email. We believe it is more likely the communication will be complete, not misunderstood or unfairly judged.
As for your particular area of interest you may wish to leave the twitterverse momentarily and perform a GOOGLE search of our name, which in turn will reveal www.kickingupthepast.com. This is a place where one can find more than a few words on the focus of our efforts. In doing so, you will likely find the answer to how stories will be submitted and who will be reviewing them. You will also find there, one member of our team, who we have collaborated with over the past six years is the pre-eminent African American professional genealogist in the United States, Tony Burroughs( www.tonyburroughs.com), the author of Black Roots. You could say he has a particular fancy for African-American & Slave ancestry.
So armed with the vital information from our more comprehensive project materials, the public is likely to be able to venture a guess that the project is all inclusive. And while the lecture is appreciated, it appears that you can’t always judge a book by its 140 character limit.
10.9.13 — Luckie’s response; KUTP did not reply back
Hi KUTP Team,
Although my enthusiasm might be attributed to my passion for genealogy, my observations pertaining to KUTP’s social media delivery are far more professionally influenced — http://www.linkedin.com/in/luckiedaniels.
There’s no judgement in the fact you’ve introduced a Twitter campaign that clearly expresses interest in Native American genealogy, while never mentioning that of the African-American experience. There’s also no judgement as it relates to a core fundamental of engaging audiences online — if you leverage a particular channel to market, the consumer has every right to expect engagement via the same channel. That’s why we call it “engagement” and yes, there are protocols/best practices that apply to these environments.
Glad to hear Tony Burroughs is a collaborative partner however that information still doesn’t speak to the reason for my queries — if the project itself is all inclusive, then why hasn’t that been reflected in your marketing message to the online community?
There are no lectures here KUTP. You’ve been pretty clear even with the 140 character limit thus far. My question was and remains — why hasn’t the African-American community been included in the messaging?
If “interpreting” inclusion is the message you’d like conveyed to the online African American community, I’ll accept and share that. Please know the repeated queries and this email exchange was an effort to NOT judge the book by its 140 character limit. However when the book ignores online queries, requests an email communication in lieu of a response, and finally responds with passive-sarcasm — and no direct answer to the repeated questions –, you make that challenging.
10.13.13 — FORMAL RESPONSES TO YOUR TWEETS (Kicking Up the Past response following an earlier exchange via Twitter)
I have have asked Madonna Davis on our team to personally respond to you as she can more politely respond to your actions than I am capable of at this moment. Here is her response:
We produced “The Lively Family Massacre” using a story that I had found via research. It was one story, one episode, and a half hour long. Our goal was to research one story and guide the audience on how to do their own research while at the same time reveal to the descendant as many details as we could about the life of their ancestor. As I am sure you realize, it is impossible to cover the American experience of every ethnic group in one half hour episode. At the time that the Lively Family episode was shown on PBS stations across the country, we actively looked for sponsorship so we could make more of the same. We were unsuccessful. It seemed major genealogy companies were looking to focus on celebrities as apposed to real people. We still believe strongly that, although the current crop of shows are interesting, they leave out the people who go to libraries, archives, cemeteries, and historical societies every day looking for that elusive piece of the puzzle. We’d like to focus on them. As such, we do not have a story in mind for this documentary – if we are able to bring it to fruition. We are looking for suggestions from the genealogy community and will not rule any story theme out. Conversely, we cannot guarantee that this episode will explore a specific theme as well. We do guarantee, however, that we will consider all stories that come our way.
P.S. The only way this project can succeed and possibly lead to other projects, is if we work together. The more episodes we are able to produce, the more stories we can tell. Please do not imply prejudice in your future tweets, I find this highly insulting.
10.13.13 — Luckie’s reponse; no reply received as yet
Thanks Madonna [and KUTP] for your response.
For the most part, I agree. Most major genealogy initiatives have focused on providing celebrity genealogies vs. that of the average American researching his/her family history. From a programming perspective, there are time constraints to what aspects of our broad American History can be delivered. And finally, agreed — for the KUTP initiative to be successful, input from the very vested and diverse genealogical community will be needed.
Before I go further, I’ll say I personally like the model and approach of your program. In 2010 I spoke with Henry Gates regarding the need for genealogy programming that speaks to the target audience — the family historian and researcher. As I mentioned in my first email, I’ve worked online since its inception. With the birth of Social Media, open source code and cross-platform integration, the opportunities for funding independent initiatives is still relatively untapped.
So I’m glad you’re going for it, and believe it or not — want you to succeed. The more initiatives like KUTP that find community consensus and broader consumer success, the more of them to make their way online and on TV.
Here’s my issue — and yes, for the moment I am putting on my seasoned Program Manager/Marketing SME hat.
You’ve entered into a social space you only half-way understand the nuances of. How do I know this? Because of the way in which you’ve marketed KUTP and responded to me — both via Twitter and email.
My question was public — but still a valid one. My questions met your repeated tweets in the forum they were being marketed in. By ignoring them, you opened the door for the exchange to become even more public.
And I beg to differ — when you solicit for the stories of “real Americans” and Native Americans, yet exclude the mention of African-Americans, YOU IMPLY PREJUDICE/BIAS, not me. I implied the need for clarification, and went through several prompts in an attempt to receive it — prior to publicly encouraging AA researchers to withhold support of the program.
You cannot market to a consumer audience for support yet deny their request for inclusion — especially if your social media platform is Twitter and Facebook.
Lastly, toughen your public skin and acknowledge there most certainly is a protocol and nomenclature attached to these social dynamics. If you open yourself to a broad audience, you should expect not every engagement will be warm and fuzzy. My prompts are subtle compared to what a historical program can and will encounter.
Whatever you think my tweets might imply or however insulted you might be, know it is well within my right to communicate them as I please.
The work here [and correction] is for KUTP. If your program is inclusive, make sure your marketing efforts mirror the same. And NEVER ignore a consumer you’re marketing to and worse still, request they email you to repeat the already asked question and then respond with sarcastic/condescending commentary.
I don’t speak for every African-American genealogist online, but I am a thought leader in the online research community — African-American specific and the broader online base.
We (all historians/genealogists) could benefit from a program like KUTP.
It’s my hope the program planning IS all inclusive and that you will find a means to effectively communicate that to your online audience.