Tag Archives: Instagram

Why I Took Down My #BlackOutTuesday Post…

I care so deeply and strongly for the minority communities in America. This is not a question of a singular time point but a story that transcends time and geographical location. I dedicated my life to the cause when I began to see how profoundly entrenched the problems were within our government. 

In just a few short months, compounded factors have exposed that network.

Ask yourself the questions:

Who is working on the frontlines?

Who doesn’t have food access? 

Who doesn’t have healthcare access? 

Who doesn’t have shelter access? 

Who has lost their job?

Who is being abused?

Who is being targeted by the police?

You will find that the same people can be grouped into the answer to many of those questions. 

Violence creates a response. I see that. I understand that. I am with that. When Trayvon Martin died unarmed, at the young age of 17 in 2012, the Black Lives Matter movement gained traction and I saw a path forward.

“I can’t breathe”, said Eric Garner as he was ruthlessly murdered by cops in 2014 – for what reason – possibly selling untaxed cigarettes.

And so many more have died. Here were are today – #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd, #JusticeForAhmaudArbery, #JusticeForBreonnaTaylor.  

None of their murderers have faced prison time. 

In 2016, I felt helpless when I was pulled over in Alabama and asked to step out of my vehicle and come to the back of my car to speak with a white officer. The person in the passenger seat had no view of me and was not allowed out of the car. I was cited for driving 5 miles below the speed limit but my stop had nothing to do with my driving and more to do with my skin color, a brown-skinned woman traveling with all her belongings on a road trip home to California. She must be an illegal immigrant.

I was let go but so many aren’t. I feel the injustice. I want to protest. But now I find myself asking the question, in the middle of a pandemic, is that the smartest move?

As I scroll through my Instagram feed, it seems that every person I know is engaged in the BLM movement – even the ones who have been apolitical till this point, the ones rapping the n-word without being part of the black community, and the ones who have shut me down for being too “political” for talking about these issues. 

I’m unsure how to feel. 

Is this a product of unrest or restlessness of being at home? 

Unfortunately, killings by police are not isolated to a few times a year. Mapping Police Violence is a great resource and presents a reality that is not surprising to me. Out of 365 days last year, there were only 27 days that the police did not kill someone – an indication of oversight in due process.

This is not a singular time point. We are not in this for instant gratification.

So we quickly share the information we see on social media, join the cause, spread awareness. We see something happening and we are quick to act, rightfully so. BUT then the next hashtag comes around and we forget the last one…

Social media activism can be beneficial, as we’ve seen with #MeToo and #BLM, but with #BlackOutTuesday, there was criticism, almost immediately. People began the day by posting black squares but soon after, black and brown activists were cautioning people to spread information rather than suppressing it by blacking out Instagram feeds. 

Even as an engaged, politically active person, I was confused about what stance to take. Eventually, I took down my post with a black square. I am in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, which I will execute through my actions, spread of information, donations to groups, and dialogue with my family and friends. It doesn’t need to be on social media. 

What I AM seeing: people coalescing in a way like never before. 

Who cares if you were unaware before. I’m glad you’re part of the movement NOW. 

Social media doesn’t need to be performative. But it can remain informative. Take the time to reflect and find the best way for yourself to get involved. Keep in mind your social responsibility with the ongoing pandemic:

  1. Protest with a group of fewer than 6 people at your neighborhood street corner. Maintain social distance.
  2. If there is a curfew in your city, like the one in San Jose, go outside and walk around for 10 minutes after curfew (only if it is safe for you to do so).
  3. Start conversations with people you normally would not.
  4. If you don’t currently have money, the AdSense revenue from these following videos will be given to organizations working on black movements:
  5. If you have money, donate to these following organizations:
  6. Find local black organizations to support (here are some for my SJ community):
  7. Email your local representatives.
    • Email Mayor Sam Liccardo and Chief Police Garcia using this template.
    • Report what abuse you see here.

Srishti Prabha is the Assistant Editor at India Currents and could not have written this piece without the help of all the black and brown activists sharing valuable information. Most of the information within this article is compiled with the help of Ritika Kumar. Thank you to all the black and brown people committed to change! 

Instagram Gives Facebook Investors 3 Fresh Reasons to Worry

The departure of Instagram’s founders marks a pivotal and potentially perilous moment for Facebook. It has long been rumored that Kevin Systrom, who maintained an iron grip as chief product officer of the Facebook subsidiary, aggressively defended his fast-growing and youthful fanbase from desires to include more ads on the platform. The departure of Systrom and Mike Krieger, the other co-founder, follows on the heels of the founders of WhatsApp, who also left Facebook with concerns that the company was not behaving in a manner that put the interests of its users first.

Whenever a visionary founder leaves a company, it is a moment of great risk. For Facebook investors, the risk is even greater because Instagram has become the growth engine of the company, as the legacy Facebook product has stagnated and lost users in key markets.

Instagram is Facebook’s future, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s biggest test. Here are three things Facebook investors should watch closely for — and fear:

1. Changes to features that allow for more aggressive marketing customers

Instagram users hate ads that are not relevant to them. Systrom did a masterful job of ensuring his customers get exceptionally relevant content the majority of the time. Facebook has often erred on the side of clickbaity content and ads that are dubious in value and more like run-of-house remnants that pick up pennies off the floor.

Allowing those types of adds onto Instagram will signal to its finicky users that Facebook wants pennies off the floor more than it wants to maintain an intimate user experience.

2. Additional executive departures from Instagram

An obvious sign that cultural change is uncomfortable is executive departures. Systrom built a loyal team that bought into his world view. This removes the few checks and balances that remained against Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s obsessions with gathering data and monetizing it.

Should a revolving door start to spin at Instagram near the top, it’s a likely sign that changes by the new regime do not sit well with the early crew that made Instagram the rock star it is.

3. Surging negative dialogue on the platform

Part of what has made Instagram so awesome is that it lacks all the toxic discourse of Facebook and Twitter. That’s by design. The community has low tolerance for negativity and they are often turned off by the constant mudslinging and barrage of negativity on other social media.

However, angry, unhappy people always follow the users because they want a loud voice. The current feature set on Instagram makes it difficult but not impossible to create the types of negative content we saw take over Facebook and Twitter and gain real purchase. Should we see signs that Instagram is becoming a less happy place, that’s a real flashing red light for investors.

Instagram is the future of Facebook. How the company handles its crown jewel after the departure of its founding team will be a litmus test for its long-term ability to stay relevant and grow quickly. Surely Zuckerberg knows all this, and in the upcoming months we’ll see how he plays his new hand.

Vivek Wadhwa is a Distinguished Fellow at Carnegie Mellon University at Silicon Valley and author of The Driver in the Driverless Car: How Our Technology Choices Will Create the Future.

This article first appeared on Marketwatch.com and is published with permission from the author.

Sabyasachi’s Endless Summer

At the outset, I would like to confess that I have been a huge fan of the internationally renowned designer, Sabyasachi Mukherjee, and his artistic creations for quite some time now.  I am sure I am not the only admirer of this designer’s exquisite creations, who now has a line of jewelry too. While his earlier work was eclectic and Bohemian he is now known as a designer for brides, as well as the actors in Bollywood, who are the fashion trendsetters in India.  His bridal lehengas may be over-the-top and blingy, but the detailed handwork and the bright colors hit the right note, for the most important day in the life of any woman.

The wide reach of the Internet has made Sabyasachi – as he is more famously known – more in vogue, and it is every woman’s dream to possess at least one piece of his beautiful creations. What I personally love are his sarees, which range from the Banarasis, to his rare interpretation of Kerala kasavu on linen, the maheshwari on khadi, and the occasional cottons.

Sabyasachi’s latest collection, “An Endless Summer”, had me swooning over the photographs on Instagram. This inspiring collection was launched just before Holi and before the long Summer season fully descended.  Every possible color under the sun is featured in the collection – the fluorescent greens and yellows, pinks and purples, and various shades of red.  Even the monochrome finds a place in the collection, with the use of the subtle shades of white, ivory and gold, which are a perennial favorite during Summer.

The couture with its play of colors juxtaposed with traditional cheent, as well as the vibrant geometric and floral designs – hand-printed, hand-painted or even embroidered – creates a visual delight.  

The charm of this collection lies in the use of the very handicrafts for which India was famous, before the Britishers took over the country; khadi, kota and mulmul make a comeback, along with the long-forgotten organza, interspersed with matka silk.

Sabyasachi’s collection is focused on modern, fashion-conscious women who like to experiment, without being bound by traditional styles.  The interpretation of the Shikhargah sarees of Banaras, as printed organza sarees, was especially eye-catching.

The vibrant colors of this Summer’s collection are sheer poetry in fashion – works of art that can be worn!  

Photo Credits – Instagram Handle of Sabyasachi Mukherjee https://www.instagram.com/sabyasachiofficial/