I know the power of Social Media. Recently I have encountered the term “Black Twitter”. I recall a tweet wondering how Black Twitter would react to some event. It’s even got its own hashtag #BlackTwitter. I’ve been on Twitter long enough that I can often tell when “Black Twitter” is posting, even if it is not explicitly hashtagged. I see a lot of this because I follow so many African Americans.
From the Washington Post 1/20/14: Black Twitter: A virtual community ready to hashtag out a response to cultural issues
Perhaps the most significant contribution of Black Twitter is that it increases visibility of black people online, and in doing so, dismantles the idea that white is standard and everything else is “other.” It’s a radical demand for acceptance by simply existing — or sometimes dominating — in a space and being yourself, without apology or explanation.
It is mentioned in the Washington Post article that language/phrases are used that may not be understandable by those outside of the Black Twitter circle (my solution is to visit the Urban Dictionary!). When someone calls a show on BET “ratchet”, that is probably Black Twitter talking. I have noticed many of these phrases have made it to the mainstream.
Sure there are many Black Twitter posts regarding TV shows and movies. But it’s not all about influencing popular culture. Black Twitter has a serious side, such as pointing out actions by people (including celebrities and persons in authority) viewed as racist, crusading for justice in high profile cases, or commenting on political views. It has had an impact.
From The Grio website, 3/14/14: Will Black Twitter help swing the 2016 presidential election?
According to Mychal Denzel Smith, [from The Nation] …
“The greatest tool Black Twitter has in its arsenal is the power of social shaming. There’s a rapid response when public figures say or do things that run counter to the ideas of justice and equality, and Black Twitter has pretty much perfected that response, made pariahs out of certain figures, and demanded action. So if there’s some value to that in electoral politics, it’s that Black Twitter can call politicians to the mat for their particularly odious views and educate the public, so far as the Internet goes.”
I view this as a great thing and a learning experience for me – being exposed to the opinions of a great part of the populace, on topics I may never have thought about. The impact of Black Twitter is a wonderful accomplishment. I’m hoping for more such impact in the future. It opens people’s eyes, exposes wrongdoing, and fosters change.
What do you think? Please comment herein. I really want to know. I will learn from reading what you have to say.