Facebook turns 10: African-Americans uniquely affected by social media site

african kings

Facebook officially turns 10 today, which marks the anniversary of the day thefacebook.com opened to users outside its original college audience.

Now, the social media engine is an important tool for sharing life’s most important moments for millions.

For the African-American community, the technology company headed by CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerburg might hold an extra-special place.

It is well known that African-Americans tend to overindex on social media usage compared to other groups — plus, Facebook remained the most popular social media site in 2013.

An older couple finds love

Statistics aside, we just need to look around to realize how integral Facebook has become. For 60-year-old Patsy Thompson Sutton, reconnecting with high school friends on this site led to more than just a rekindling of friendship. Sutton found love in her later years.

“An old classmate had gotten in touch with me on Facebook about our class reunion being held in the Bahamas,” Sutton said. “I did a search for other people who graduated from Lanier High School in 1973. That’s when I saw John’s profile,” she said of her boyfriend.

“He looked familiar so I sent him a message asking if he was going to the reunion. He said yes… if it was in Macon. You see, I went to Lanier in Mississippi, and John went to Lanier in Georgia,” she explained.

“I told him I was sorry I had the wrong person, and we ended up becoming friends on Facebook anyway.”

That led to them falling in love, after connecting in the summer of 2010. They decided to move in together by the following Easter.

“I finally felt ready to find the man of my dreams. I signed up for online dating and I had some people ask me out, but I wasn’t interested in any of them. Then John came into my life. My grandson said, ‘Grandma, I think that’s the one. I see the way you look at him on Facebook.'”

Young love spawns online

Matny Ville found love — and marriage — much earlier in his life, but if it were not for Facebook, he may never have known his future wife lived less than a mile away.

“All our pictures, dates and places we’ve been are all on Facebook,” Matny said of his wife. “I went from not knowing what love is and the whole entire time it’s been living right up the street from me. Thanks Facebook!”

It was May 2010 when Matnyaccepted his now wife Monique’s friend request. Within minutes they began communicating over the site. Then Matny joked that he would pick up an ice cream sundae for her on a run to McDonald’s. That’s when he learned she had lived in his neighborhood for 10 years. They connected in person eating the treats in her front yard.

After marrying a few years later, the couple has been blessed with a daughter, Vitani, who was born in July 2013.

“Facebook isn’t just a social network, it’s a piece of history in my family’s life and continues to capture our memories everyday,” stated Ville. “When our 6 month old daughter grows up and asks, ‘How did you meet mommy?’ I’ll tell her that we found each other through the help of Facebook — the social network that makes the world bigger, but helped to bring us closer.”

Social media becomes successful networking

Much has been made about the fact that being disconnected from the right social networks contributes to higher rates of black unemployment. In Kareem Taylor’s case, the expanded networking capabilities of Facebook helped him to overcome that obstacle and land in his ideal career.

After using Facebook to successfully promote himself as an announcer on his college campus, Taylor’s voiceover demo got noticed — by an instrumentally connected person.

“Facebook was the game changer for me,” voice over artist Kareem Taylor said. He feels he owes his career in part to the networking that Facebook makes possible.

“One night a producer from CNN commented on a post I put up about my voiceover demo,” he explained. “Up to this point, she and I had never met and had only been connected through Facebook and a film internship I held. She said she liked my demo, wanted to hear more and invited me to CNN’s headquarters. I auditioned in front of the entire office and almost a year later, I was recording my first commercial campaign for CNN’s Heroes.”

This felicitous connection led to even more work with the cable network. Now Taylor boasts clients ranging from AT&T to Taco Bell. “Facebook connects us to people and opportunities in a way that wasn’t possible before.”

For the love of Facebook

These are just a few examples of how Facebook has positively impacted our lives.

Here at theGrio, our Facebook audience of over 700,000 people is one we cherish for your comments and your sharing our articles about the black community — a group initiative that both sustains the site and nourishes us all intellectually and spiritually.

Do you have a favorite Facebook story? As this popular means of group participation turns ten, share your story below to reflect on how it has enhanced your existence.

Read more compelling stories at FacebookStories.com/10.

Follow Alexis Garrett Stodghill on Twitter @lexisb