Black Twitter is probably one of my top ten favorite things on the Internet. Black Twitter is the online location where there’s trending topics, shade-throws and new age resistance. It’s a powerful community that’s been able to shift perspectives and bring light to cultural issues, all while making us laugh hysterically.
Last week, the L.A. Times hired a #BlackTwitter reporter and now, the popular digital media outlets like BuzzFeed have staff who are always ready to share the latest from Black Twitter.
Black Twitter’s appeal has a lot to do with the capacity to fire back at any person – celebrity or otherwise – that has crossed the line, especially when it comes to race issues. Black Twitter is also quick and they are able to get topics trending in a matter of minutes! It’s quite impressive. And then, Black Twitter’s magic is their ability to hop on trends and completely change their direction, as it was done last week with #WhiteGirlsDoItBetter.
It’s obvious that Black Twitter has something special and people are noticing.
Black Twitter is an amazing sociological phenomenon. Sometimes, there is a certain kind of community policing that goes on. Consider how Black Twitter has essentially denounced celebrities like Don Lemon, Raven-Symoné and Stacy Dash in what is seen as their endless lack of empathy towards Black issues and what some would call flat-out “coonery.” And then there’s people like Iggy Azalea and Rachel Dolezal, who live permanently live on the shadesiest side of Black Twitter’s spectrum of disdain.
But make no mistake, Black Twitter is not only about serving witty side eyes and memes dreams are made of, they also are “here for” a select few and they celebrate those people’s great achievements or come to their defense. Black Twitter has adorned celebrities like Misty Copeland, Serena Williams, Ava DuVernay and Amandla Stenberg. Black Twitter also appreciates “Internet celebrities” like Bree Newsome, who took down the Confederate flag.
Black Twitter does more! There is of course also the advocacy. If you think of how popular the #BlackLivesMatter movement has become, it shows the importance of social media in drawing attention to systems of racism. Added to this, are the names of many Black men and women who Black Twitter has informed the rest of the world of their wrongful death or injustice. How much would we really know about the death of Mike Brown, for example, without #JusticeforMikeBrown?
On a lesser scale, Black Twitter also calls for boycotts of brands and of events such as the Oscars this year – which were the Whitest they’ve been in a while. And we don’t know for sure if it was the Black Twitter boycott, but the Oscars did have less viewers.
Through a combination of humor, righteous anger, information dissemination and noted thought leaders, Black Twitter is an online community that is a site for meaningful culture and communication exchange for the issues that affect Black people at local, national and sometimes even global levels.
As we have seen with the connection between Palestine and Ferguson, or the #BringBackOurGirls movement, Black Twitter has the capacity to go beyond Black America. So of course everyone is paying attention to Black Twitter – what it does for public conversation in the United States and beyond is important.
Black people are at the forefront of cultural nuance–this time in representation, in communication and in identity and community expression. But the one thing Black Twitter is yet to figure out as a community–which will be hard to do because it is not an “organization–” is how to turn what this community does into something that can monetarily benefit Black Twitter participants. After all, media and other industry are clearly benefiting from its existence.
Don’t Sleep On Black Twitter: The Digital Community That’s Doing All The Right Things was originally published on hellobeautiful.com