How to Become an Influential Voice in Today’s Society

Ileri Jaiyeoba, one of this year’s Blogger Fellows, shares how a prominent civil rights activist taught her about the power of using your voice and giving others the chance to use theirs. 

“Protest is not the answer. Protest creates space for the answer.”

Hearing these words from DeRay McKesson, a civil rights activist, during the Social Good Summit made me think about the reasons why I protest. I began to recall all the past protests I have been involved in and what they meant to me. When I think about why I was involved in social justice protests I can think of three reasons: I wanted to be a part of a community, to stand in solidarity, and to create a space for my own voice to be heard. I believe being part of protests in the past gave me the courage to use my voice on social media and influence my own followers to care about the issues I care about. During McKesson’s session, The Other Side of Freedom at the Social Good Summit, he spoke about how society can use their voice to uplift other voices. He said that in the future “It won’t be the content creators that change the world in a world where everyone creates content, [but that] it will be the content curators. In 2030, the content curators will be the new power brokers.”

So, what exactly does this mean when it comes to having an influential voice? This means that if I want to have an influential voice and the power to “influence [the] decision making [process] and politics,” I need to be sharing information I believe is important whether it is my own creative content or another person’s original content. This is a major way for someone to become an influential voice. So, as you read this article think about how people like me and you can influence the people around us by being content curators.

We should also not limit ourselves to thinking that we can only create content on social media. When thinking about curating content you must ask yourself, what you do you stand for? You need to constantly share information, especially about the issues that matter to you. At the end of the session McKesson explained how “We [have] flattened what the world looked like in terms of who creates stories.” We don’t have to make original stories all the time in a world where there is so much information and so many stories to go around. Sometimes it is just as important to share information and curate content as it is to create it. By doing this, we create a space for other voices besides our own, and makes our collective voices even louder. 

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