Black Twitter a term coined to describe a network of primarily African-Caribbean people on Twitter who engage in black issues and culture, consequently a series of sociopolitical changes have been identified. It is however, important to remember that not all black tweeters are members of Black Twitter and that not all members of Black Twitter are black. This tangible group tweet frequently and are regularly at the heart of everyday conversations
For many young black people, like myself we have immersed ourselves into a virtual community where we partake in social discussions, political rebuttal and the all-important banter. Black Twitter (BT) has become a network of largely ethnic young people who are constantly finding new means to engage with each other in 140 characters. The sub group is often bought together by issues that resonate with their backgrounds. With around twenty-five percent of all twitter users being black, it is no wonder that BT has been highlighted on CNN’s network. In a news segment Don Lemon reflected on the dogmatic and community power that the group induces.
Earlier this year Black Twitter used its influence for political justice. Following the Trayvon Martin case, Sharlene Martin, a book agent, offered juror B37 a book deal. Many found the idea of capitalizing over the murder of a teenage boy somewhat distressing. Genie Lauren, a member of BT called upon others in the thousands strong group to interrupt the agenda. Within 24 hours the book deal was withdrawn and the organizational power of BT had been demonstrated. For many, this was an iconic moment in the African- Caribbean community; the events revealed how organised collectivity could make our voices resonate in the mainstream.
However, the assembly isn’t constrained to political issues. Black Twitter is said to be part of the reason for the success for a hit television series, Scandal, which realises the main character as an intelligent, fruitful black female, played by Kerry Washington. At times it may seem like the whole of the BT community is sitting in your front room as you settle down to watch shows like Scandal, Top Boy and even the BET Awards, you can rest assure that a large number of tweeples will join you in tweeting as the program airs. Often this humorous rhetoric is replied to, retweeted and favourited and so the network grows ever stronger.
The cultural force often engages in banter about cultural practices that resonate with many. This comical conversation has seen #InAnAfricanHousehold and #BlackParentsDoThingsLike among many others trending on the mainstream Twitter platform. The group, who are often at the center of daily conversation can be seen reminiscing on a large range of topics including childhood memories, past and current fashions. Many Tweeples even use the platform to promote events and many have built a following for business and enterprise purposes. Although, themes aren’t always positive it has been increasingly nice to see the support from one member to another. It has also been inspiring to witness the social forum being used to educate and provoke conversation about a wealth of subjects.
The Power of Black Twitter proves to be convincing, perhaps the next question we should pose is ‘what can we do with this influence to advance our community and create real change?’ What I can say is, observing how the group has catapulted Scandal into being one of America’s most favourite sitcoms has demonstrated that the group holds much influence collectively. Perhaps we could use this power in greater efforts, to gain greater economical influence for example. Just maybe this could be the platform to seek social justice. The trends shown this year suggest that Black Twitter can demand and create anything from entertainment to social change. In the coming years it will be exciting to watch how this movement uses its growing muscle and what issues Black Twitter will use this influence on.