A Guide To Black Twitter
What exactly is the phenomenon known as “Black Twitter?” Well, there’s no invitation, no official accounting of membership, no fee or initiation to join. It’s basically a loose group of African-Americans, some of whom are prominent in the media, education and entertainment realms who come together spontaneously to create hashtages while the world watches.
Still not specific enough for you? Well, part of that is the nature of social media itself, which is made up of disparate groups of people from around the globe, from all walks of life, socioeconomic backgrounds, beliefs and ethnicities. What has made Black Twitter into a phenomenon is its sheer numbers. There have been studies that say that fully 25% of Twitter users are African-American. That is reflected in trending topics which started to become recognized as African-American in origin.
One of the major reasons why African-Americans are so dominant on Twitter is mobile and smartphone usage. According to a study done by Pew Research Internet project earlier this year, 92% of African-Americans own a cell phone and 56% own a smartphone, comparable to whites. Where this differs is in Twitter usage. 40% of African-Americans between 18-29 use Twitter compared to 28% of whites the same age.
Given that a large and vocal group of activists, media professionals, educators and celebrities also use Twitter, it has allowed the social media site to become a referendum on the Black view on various issues. This has shown up dramatically this year with the Ferguson and Eric Garner cases becoming trending topics/hashtags on Twitter almost immediately after the incidents happened and when new news or information needed to be disseminated.
To show you how influential Black Twitter can be, in the case of Brown, a Twitter user posted the first pictures of the shooting 2 minutes after it took place.
PART TWO: Who Is Black Twitter?