April Reign at NABJ greeting attendees.

April Reign greeting attendees after panel discussion.

*An international movement began when #OscarsSoWhite and #BlackLivesMatter started trending on Twitter and initiated a conversation that demanded change.

The OscarsSoWhite hastag dominated the Academy Awards news headlines this year. The BlackLivesMatter hastag has been an ongoing cry against the senseless killings of unarmed black men by cops over the last year.

Black Twitter, a game changer in social media, was the subject of conversation at the National Association of Black Journalists’ (NABJ)—of which I am a member—#BlackTwitter 16 meet this past weekend in New York City. It was held at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and attendees came from across the country. The Conference was co-sponsored by The Columbia University Association of Black Journalists and The Advancement Project.

Panelists included April Reign (@reignofapril, @BroadwayBlack), the creator of #OscarsSoWhite and Nakisha Lewis of Black Lives Matter NYC. In addition to many important issues discussed, all concurred that the most serious subject that needs to be addressed is the upcoming election and voter registration.

Sarah Glover, the president of NABJ gave the welcoming address. From 9:15 to 10:20 a.m. it was An Introduction to Black Twitter: Get to know the Black Twitter community, why it’s important, and the impact that it has on pop culture, television viewing, politics, entertainment, education and social issues with Sherri Williams, Ph.D., Wake Forest University; Meredith Clark, Ph.D., University of North Texas,  and Jamilah King, Senior Staff Writer at Mic.

Panelists Marcus Mabry and Brionna Jimerson.

Panelists Marcus Mabry and Brionna Jimerson.

Top Tools for Social Media with Brionna Jimerson, Social Media Analyst, ABC News, and Marcus Mabry  of Twitter presented information for effectively reaching audiences, telling stories, analyzing data, drive referrals and mine for social media stories.

April Reign, creator of #OscarsSoWhite, discussed how her hastag became a cultural phenomenon. She reignited the public discussion centered on the need for diversity from Hollywood to the newsroom.

Black Twitter Making the Headlines-#BlackLivesMatter and Beyond: This panel of experts discussed how #BlackLivesMatter went from an online hastag to a social movement making real change across the country and around the world. The panelists were The Washington Post’s Wesley Lowery, Chelsea Fuller, Senior Communications Associate for Youth Criminialization, Advancement Project; Nakisha Lewis, Black Lives Matter NYC and Kimberly C. Ellis, Ph.D., Fierce Star Media.

Using Social Media to Market Yourself panelists included Robert Browne, New York Magazine; John Ketchum, CNN; and Wendy L. Wilson, Contributing Editor for Ebony.com

Sree’s Social Media Master Class: Sree Screenivasan, Chief Digital Officer of @MetMuseum, taught this last session that was held from 3:30-5:00 p.m.. Those in attendance left with specific, concrete ideas on making the best use of social media time, building and enhancing their brand online.

Networking from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. was at MIST Harlem on 116th Street. For more information on the NABJ or joining, go to www.NABJ.com

Syndicated Entertainment journalist Marie Moore reports on film and TV from her New York City base. Contact her at [email protected]

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