If you’ve been on Twitter recently (or ever for that matter) then you’ve probably noticed that at least one hilarious “trending topic” for the day seems to have been started by a black person. Even though some people like to play it off, make light of it, or just flat out ignore it, there is no denying that black people are successfully using and leveraging social media technology.
Last year, Joel Johnson from Gizmodo published this little gem about “stalking sexy black women on Twitter” (to which BW 2.0 responded here), while Slate attempted to take a more analytical approach in an article entitled “How Black People Use Twitter.” Both articles got a wide spectrum of reactions from both black and white readers, ranging from amusement to outrage. Some even accused these articles of undermining the serious study of black online culture. And while I do agree that the articles might have trivialized this new phenomenon, I also think that there is even an even bigger phenomenon afoot. Because after seeing black culture related tweets trending worldwide everyday for months, I am now convinced that it is more than just leverage. It is more than sexy tweets and profiles. And it’s more that celebrities:
Black people run Twitter.
And of course when I say “run Twitter” I mean the culture and conversation of the site itself. And even though there is no real data for it yet, there is really something to be said for the way that 12 percent of the population can cultivate and perpetuate global conversation. The epic Twitter beef between R&B celeb Chris Brown and former music star Raz-B is a prime example of this. There is rarely any crossover in terms of black and white celebrity gossip blogs. And yet, during the 3 or 4 hours that these two gentleman exchanged quips, 8 of the 10 worldwide trending topics were about or related to their argument. For two days in a row. This is more than trending topics related to Snooki, the Jersey Shore, global warming and midterm elections.
Now maybe it’s just me, but I think this is a pretty big deal, and an important thing for both the media and black Twitter users to become aware of. The ability to influence the conversation of millions through one of the most frequently visited social media sites is a rare and useful gift. And instead of simply using Twitter for playing the dozens by hashtag (especially hilarious though it may be), I have a slightly different idea. Let’s start using our powers for good in addition to using them for entertainment purposes. Because using Twitter as a vehicle to empower the black community can produce great things that will extend far beyond the four walls of the internet.
So yeah, I said it. Black people run Twitter. Now it’s time to be the change that we want to see in the world.Category: Featured, social media | Tags: Social Networking, twitter