A Guide To Black Twitter
Black Twitter’s Serious Side
Black Twitter, more than anything else, is one of the more popular social media sites for Black people to communicate with each other, share the news and outrages of the day and find kindred spirits and like-minded folks you might not ever find as easily offline. In the past few years, Black Twitter has taken on race in a significant way.
Whether it’s organizing protestors and protests in this year’s issue of police brutality in Ferguson and Missouri and in Staten Island, N.Y. , Black Twitter has helped connect and inform people from all over the country. It has also been part of some powerful social media justice.
— David Johns (@MrDavidJohns) December 13, 2014
Buzzfeed reported on this phenomenon in 2013, when a tweet by a woman named Genie Lauren, tweeting via @moreandagain objecting to a book deal by George Zimmerman Juror B37 went viral. Lauren quickly located Sharlene Martin, B37’s book agent asking not to go forward with the book deal. Martin, who was bombarded with Tweets asking for the same, dropped Juror B37 and the proposed book deal was torpedoed in one night.
Just last month, two different entities learned the hard way about the social media clout of Black Twitter. Root editor Yesha Callahan was the first to tweet about Elizabeth Lauten (Callahan confirmed this, via, of course, Twitter.) then the Communications Director for GOP representative Steve Fincher of Tennessee. Lauten, on her personal Facebook page, took issue with Sasha and Malia Obama‘s demeanor and attire at the White House’s annual Turkey “pardon.”
She said the sisters should show more class and that their attire resembled what would be worn to a bar. Sasha and Malia are 13 and 16, respectively. Some time after Lauten realized her mistake, and deleted the post with a quasi-apology but it was too late. After Callahan posted the information to her followers, a bipartisan backlash ensued.
Elizabeth Lauten began trending on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, then #FireElizabeth Lauten began trending. By Monday, she’d resigned.
StrangeFruit PR out of Austin, TX, was also berated for a choice of name that reflected the classic Billie Holiday song about lynching. When called on it, their explanation didn’t satisfy Twitter users, who continued posting criticism to their feed. They, too, announced a change of heart…and change of name to Perennial PR.
NEXT: Black Twitter Influencers