How I'm 'Bookmarking Birmingham' and encouraging responsible social media use

Birmingham, Alabama, is renown for its chefs, restaurants and food scene. Here, food is entertainment.

So when I recently learned about a hunger crisis happening in my own city, I began to evaluate the disconnect between what we share on social media and what we choose to ignore. Even in our backyards.

The opening of a local restaurant is sexy. And perfect fodder for Instagram.

The VIP section at a local bar or pub is where it's at. It's where you'll find all the cool kids with a significant social media following.

The seasonal food-du-jour from an award-winning chef makes mouths water all over their phone screens. Being the first to try it makes being an influencer worthwhile.

But there's a dark side to the success of "food" in our city. Many people are going hungry.

Bookmarking Birmingham

I recently hosted an event at the United Way of Central Alabama on the topic of "Bookmarking Birmingham." During this event, digital experts such as Javacia Harris Bowser and Rachel Awtry shared not just the latest social media trends, but how they make a difference in their cities and beyond through their digital efforts.

It was during this event that the United Way rolled out an "Influencers Toolkit," which empowered content creators to tell a full, robust story about the UWCA and its programs.

One particular pdf in the toolkit stood out to me. It was titled, "What a dollar buys."

From a branding perspective, it showed in more detail how a contributed dollar is allocated to specific programs — such a clear illustration.

But, from a responsible social media use perspective, it highlighted to me the gap between what we see and interact with on social media vs. what's happening in many of our neighborhoods.

I know what many people think when they read this type of post: (this is where I use my sarcastic font) excellent – another person telling us we can't enjoy something on social media. How original.

That isn't what I'm saying at all.

I love going to new and fantastic restaurants, VIP experiences, and product launches as much as the next influencer.

In the past, I've even organized these events.

They offer tremendous publicity for local businesses, which is very important to our economy.