President Obama; Hampton University; May 9, 210

Yesterday, Mother’s Day, President Obama spoke to the graduating class of 2010 at Hampton University.  There was nothing unusual about the President’s commencement address as he told the story of Hampton’s history and spoke about the value of an education.  In fact, his address was reflective and filled with encouragement.  “Frederick Douglass once put it, that education…means emancipation,” said the President.   But what became controversial among social media and blogging circles today was what President Obama said in the middle of his commencement speech about “coming of age in a 24/7 media environment … with iPods and iPads; and Xboxes and PlayStations … information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation. So all of this is not only putting pressure on you; it’s putting new pressure on our country and on our democracy.”

The rest of the President’s speech was without controversy.  However, I found the headlines of certain blogs, social media sites and Internet news, unfortunately misleading.  It’s understandable why so many went in that direction with only half of the story.  After all, who would read a blog about President Obama’s recent commencement speech at Hampton University with a bland headline such as Education Means Emancipation.  It’s just not sticky or juicy enough.

Bloggers, journalists and reporters, how ironic!  It is your writing style that is exactly what the Hampton University commencement  address referred to.  The point, to my well-meaning social media colleagues, was succinctly well-said by President Obama at the end of his Hampton commencement speech, “… A dream of brighter days ahead, a faith in things not seen, a belief that here, in this country, we are the authors of our own destiny. That is what Hampton is all about. And it now falls to you, the Class of 2010, to write the next great chapter in America’s story; to meet the tests of your own time; to take up the ongoing work of fulfilling our founding promise. I’m looking forward to watching.”Hampton University Class of 2010

I am looking forward to watching too because we are in need of some integrity, and taking responsibility for the words that we publish throughout the Internet.  Too many people believe everything that they read is true, factual and is exactly as it is written.  So many do not dig deeper to find the facts and then reach their own educated conclusions.  It’s a shame, the level of misunderstanding, ignorance and confusion that runs rabidly throughout social media commentary.

Check out the video and transcript of President Obama’s commencement address at Hampton University and judge for yourself–> Hampton University Commencement Adresss – Class of 2010.

Education means emancipation for us all!