@RyanNewYork

Ryan J. Davis is the Vice President of Community at Vocativ. He's the former Director of Social Media at Blue State Digital and was a co-founder and digital director of The Four 2012. Ryan is most proud of his time spent on the internet team during Howard Dean’s 2004 Presidential Campaign.

Davis sits on the Board of Directors of The Ali Forney Center, where he is the founding producer of their annual Broadway Beauty Pageant fundraiser. Additionally, Ryan is on the Board of Directors of The Deconstructive Theatre Project, the Board of Advisers of the startup TV Dinner and the Executive Board of LAMBDA Independent Democrats of Brooklyn.

Ryan has written about politics for The Huffington Post, The Hill and Next Magazine. He was once a guest editor of Queerty. For his progressive activism, Davis was awarded two Pollie Awards by The American Association of Political Consultants.

A former theatre creator and director, Ryan’s favorite projects include Veritas (Fringe 2010), Street Lights (NYMF 2009) and the eventually Whoopi Goldberg produced White Noise (NYMF 2006).

Ryan has lived in New York City since 2000 and is a proud resident of Brooklyn.

Here Ryan blogs about politics, film, TV, history, religion, science, books, theater, digital media, LGBT issues, Bushwick & Williamsburg, New York City, and anything else he's interested in at the moment. Oh, and he'll probably talk a lot about himself.

Ryan has keynoted at conferences and universities around the world on digital politics, social media strategy and LGBT rights. Email to discuss setting up a speaking engagement.

Connect with him over social media using the icons below.

This is a personal blog. Any opinions expressed here and on my Twitter account represent my own and not those of my employer or clients.
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For the 2nd year in a row, I’m on the host committee for the Brooklyn Community Pride Center’s Founders’ Ball.

This year it’s at Dumbo Loft, on Thursday, April 24th and is honoring Edie Windsor and Storme DeLarverie. BCPC a great organization that helps a lot of people, plus the party has an open bar and good company. 

Hope you can make it. Let me know if you’re planning to be there!

An Open Letter to Pope Francis From The Ali Forney Center’s Carl Siciliano, That Appeared in The New York Times

Your Holiness,

I write to you as a Roman Catholic, a former Benedictine monk and as a gay man who has spent over 30 years serving the homeless, first as a member of the Catholic Worker Movement, and now as the founder and Executive Director of the Ali Forney Center, America’s largest center for homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth based in New York City.

I write on behalf of the homeless LGBT youths I serve. I ask you to take urgent action to protect them from the devastating consequences of religious rejection, which is the most common reason LGBT youths are driven from their homes. At the heart of the problem is that the church still teaches that homosexual conduct is a sin, and that being gay is disordered. I hope that if you understand how this teaching tears families apart and brings suffering to innocent youths, you will end this teaching and prevent your bishops from fighting against the acceptance of LGBT people as equal members of society.

I hope that you will open your heart to the suffering of our youths. As LGBT youths are finding the courage to speak the truths of their hearts at younger ages, epidemic numbers are being rejected by their families and driven to homelessness. The number of youths enduring this cruel fate is staggering; last year at least 200,000 LGBT youths experienced homelessness in the United States. LGBT youths make up 40 percent of the homeless youth population in this country, despite comprising only about five percent of the overall youth population.

A recent study of family rejection found that parents with high religious involvement were significantly less accepting of their LGBT children. Over the past decade thousands of LGBT youths have come to the Ali Forney Center seeking safe shelter, from across our nation and the globe, bearing witness to having been driven from their homes by religious parents who believed they were evil and sinful. What these youths endure is horrific. They endure the torment of being unloved and unwanted by their parents, combined with the ordeals of hunger, cold and sexual exploitation while homeless. LGBT youths who are rejected by their families are eight times more likely to attempt suicide than LGBT youths whose parents accept them.

The Roman Catholic Church is the largest and most influential Christian organization in the world. By teaching that homosexual conduct is a sin, and that the homosexual orientation is disordered, it influences countless parents and families in societies across the globe to reject their children. In the name of these children, and in light of the love and compassion at the heart of the message of Jesus, I ask that you end this teaching.

Jesus Christ is never recorded as having said a word in judgment or condemnation of homosexuality or of LGBT people. He spoke of a loving, compassionate God, and commanded his followers to act with love and compassion. Jesus spoke of God as a loving parent who would never abandon his children.

There are biblical writings endorsing conduct now recognized as wrong; passages endorsing the rape of enemies’ wives and the murder of their children, endorsing slavery and even genocide. None of those biblical instructions are maintained as church teachings, as they are recognized to be cruel and immoral, and reflective of the ignorance of more primitive times. I ask you to recognize that the condemnation of homosexuality is also cruel and wrong, and rooted in a primitive, obsolete understanding of human sexuality. I ask you to join the growing number of church communities and religious denominations who have chosen to welcome and embrace us with love and acceptance.

A teaching’s wisdom and efficacy must be judged in part by its outcome. The teaching that homosexual conduct is a sin has a poisonous outcome, bearing fruit in many Christian parents who abandon their LGBT children to homelessness and destitution. How could a good seed yield such a bitter harvest?

For me this tragedy has many human faces. I see Justin, whose mother, before throwing him out of his home, summoned a priest who held him to the ground and tried to drive the devil out of the 16 year old boy. Or Terry, who was sent to a Catholic religion class where the instructor set him aside as someone “possessed by demons.” When his mother threw him out, she said that she would rather he die in the streets than live in her home if he was gay. I recall Maria, whose family drove her to a forest far from her home and abandoned her, throwing her from the car, because being a lesbian made her “evil.” I think of the boy whose name I never learned whose father was so disgusted by homosexuality that he threw his son out of his home and said he would kill him and bury him in the backyard if he tried to return.

I greatly respect you as a leader who has shown deep concern for the plight of the poor. I invite you to the Ali Forney Center, to meet our abandoned youths and see for yourself how their lives have been devastated and made destitute by religious rejection. I believe that there is no more compelling witness to the harmfulness of the condemnation of homosexuality than the consequent suffering plainly visible in the eyes of our homeless LGBT youths.

We share a belief in a God of love. I know in my heart that what my kids have suffered is ultimately a violation against love. How tragic it is that the church, through it’s teaching, would contribute to such a violation. Surely God loves his children more than teachings.

I hope that you will take up my offer to come to the Ali Forney Center and meet the youths we serve. And I hope that we can find common ground in seeking that they be protected and loved.

Sincerely,


Carl Siciliano

Donate to The Ali Forney Center here

This letter originally appeared in the New York Times as a advertisement paid for by MItchell Gold + Bob Williams (in partnership with Faith in America) who are celebrating their 25th Anniversary and raising awareness of critical issues in communities across the country. Ryan Davis serves on The Board of Directors of The Ali Forney Center

I’m quoted talking about how candidates shouldn’t brag about how many Facebook fans they have.

but 13 men wandering the desert not gay at all

All the social media world is talking about how Facebook is rumored to cut organic page reach to as low as 1%. Here are a few thoughts for page managers who work with brands or organizations, on what this means going forward.

1. We always knew this was going happen. Facebook is a business, and the idea they’d give brands a free way to reach all their fans forever was never very plausible. When you are building an audience on a channel that someone else controls, you’re at the whim of their rules.  

2. It’s now more important that ever to put people first on your Facebook strategy. By highlighting your staff, supporters, and fans more - you’ll build deeper connections that will help you appear in the news feed. This could be as simple as posting more pictures from events and encouraging tagging to more elaborate user engagement campaigns.

4. User sharing matters more than ever. Produce content with the explicit goal of getting users to share. (Make sure you’ve read all the latest research on why and what people share.) Remember the simple fact that women share more over social media, so if your content is overly male centric it’s time to reconsider.

5. Try to get users to turn on notifications for your page. Obviously if you’re a non-profit with a mission people really believe in, this will be easier than if you’re selling socks. But, through contests or other incentives - it’s something that can be done and will pay off in engagement. Now is also a good time to double down on email and SMS, two direct ways to contact users that you actually control.

6. Paid media on Facebook works. Boosting posts isn’t that expensive and if a piece of content is already doing well, throwing even $10 behind it can explode reach. If a piece of content isn’t working, spending money on it won’t make it magically take off, so be smart. 

Working in digital marketing means you have to be flexible and ready for constant changes that will change your strategy. Instead of complaining about it, adjust and move on to better opportunities. There are more ways every year to connect with users and Facebook is just one of them.

Talking about non-profits and the internet in NYC on April 8 with smart people. RSVP here.

The new anti-gay Boy Scouts splinter group have a questionable salute.

To save the internet we know and love, we’ve got to make it a public utility.

I’m putting together my conference and university speaking schedule for the rest of the spring & summer. Email me if you need a speaker for anything LGBT or digital related.

Photos of Chase Whiteside and me at ELECTORAL DYSFUNCTION on Friday at The Peoples Improv Theatre. 

(With chasewhiteside. Photos by christianhendricks

I think that the Arizona law, clearly unconstitutional and made to strike down, shows how few cards anti-gay US campaigners have left. The American gay community is under more threat from progressive “allies” who cut AIDS and homeless LGBT funding than Arizona’s desperate loons.

vocativ:

Big News: Vocativ is partnering with NBC News & msnbc. Here’s the NY Times story —> http://nyti.ms/Nq3QjB

New York Times on Vocativ’s partnership with MSNBC, NBC News, Ronan Farrow, and Ari Emanuel. Busy morning!

When I was 12, at Christmas, my mom made me happy by giving me some great Star Trek gifts. You can make me happy by coming to her New York City fundraiser on Friday, Feb 28th. Tickets here —> http://bit.ly/1c6Vfs4

One of the lessons from WhatsApp founder Brian Acton is to get up and keep going. I know a $16 billion dollar app acquisition can be hard to swallow, but Brian has a great story and built a product that everyone wanted in on. 

New York City is in for a treat on Friday, Chase Whiteside and I are sharing the stage at The Peoples Improv Theater.

Be there. Tickets here.

More details below:

A Year Of Action continues! Bills will be passed! Executive Orders will be signed! Reporters will be thrown off of balconies! Travel this bold new era with ELECTORAL DYSFUNCTION!

Featuring the Panel: Cathleen Carr (Sea Legs), Robert George (New York Post), Geoff Grimwood (Fake Church), Lucas Hazlett (MTV), Julie Sharbutt (Grounds for Divorce), Jim Tosone (Improv Means Business), and moderator Nate Starkey (Big Black Car, Grillin’ in the City)

This month’s special guests are Mary Phillips-Sandy (managing editor, Comedy Central.com), Ryan Davis (Vocativ) & Chase Whiteside (New Left Media)!

Featuring a sketch by MASHMAW (Matt Sears, Jerry Mouse & Brad Stuart)

Produced by Tom Brennan (Marvel Entertainment)
Technical Direction by Michael Montalbano (Slick Zombie!)
Art by Declan Shalvey & Jordie Bellaire

Click for tickets.