Woke, But Misinformed: Examining How Social Media Has Played A Role In Distorting History

In a time where everyone on social is “woke”, the truth is often presented in a way that fits our own pleasure. The past few years social media has been used as an outlet to voice our opinions about certain issues that are affecting our communities. This has ultimately led to a “trend” known as being woke. Now I must admit in the early years of Facebook, I would post things that challenged my friends and followers to think about the world around them, but as Twitter and Instagram gained more popularity, a new wave of social media “intellectuals” emerged.

Being a historian, I noticed that the usage of memes throughout social media had a major impact on the idea of being woke. While talking to one of my students one day he informed me that he creates memes in order to spread the word about black history. Being excited about his entrepreneurship mindset, I asked to see some of the memes he had created. After glancing at some of his examples, I quickly noticed that much of the information placed into the memes were inaccurate. From wrong dates to the mix-up of names, the history intended for social media was completely wrong. I explained to my student that although I liked his approach, it was important to put the correct information into his content.

In a time where information is digested quickly, the truth is often brushed over for the feeling of being accepted by a like or comment. Now I’m not against the concept of being woke, but we have to make sure that the history we are spreading is accurate. This helps solidify our legacy without being challenged. The woke meme culture is not the only thing that’s distorting history, but their seems to be a select group of individuals that control the “woke” arena. Tensions tend to flair up online when one side dictates what is and what’s not black enough. The true essence of being woke gets lost in this feud because what’s supposed to be a unifying element that brings oppressed groups together, simply pulls them apart. Tie that in with the often-misrepresented meme’s and you have one big chaos that destroys a movement.

The concept of being woke should not be viewed as some kind of accessory, but more so as a person’s ability to grow. We have to make sure that the social media memes and the debates amongst YouTube pro-black intellectuals don’t water down true history. While social media content can be useful for a quick knowledge, long research should be promoted as well. The history of oppressed groups cannot be narrowed down to a simple instagram post.  There are many other approaches that should go with spreading knowledge.

Lastly, no one should be able to define your “wokeness” but you. Find what each individual is able to bring to the table so that it does not become one-sided and that there is more of a balance on social media. Of course some readers may say that his blog/article is not woke enough, but that ultimately argues my point.


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Andy Reid

Andy J. Reid is a published scholar who has a background in History and African-American Studies. Originally from the small town of Sanford, North Carolina, Andy realized his talents as a writer when he was a freshman in college at Elizabeth City State University (ECSU). Since then he has gone on to obtain many distinguished awards and present at national conferences around the United States. When his is not researching and writing, he is providing services to the community through his independent writing/tutoring/mobile notary business.

Andy Reid has 6 posts and counting. See all posts by Andy Reid

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