#TIC104 Summary: “Understanding Black Twitter”

An article from Public Relations Tactics named “Understanding ‘Black Twitter’: A look at the increasingly diverse Internet population.” details the participation trends of African Americans on Twitter and how the social networking website it is quickly expanding medium for members of racial minorities in the United States to communicate and have their voices heard.

The article speaks about how around 25% of current Twitter users are black and that a higher proportion of African Americans use Twitter than any other racial group. The idea of a collective identity, facilitated by technology is an extremely interesting one and have already been multiple events where the collective attention garnered by Black Twitter has been used to effect social changes, such as all of the attention given to Paula Deen’s racist comments or that of the public relations executive who tweeted something racist before getting on an eight hour flight and was already fired before her plane had landed.

The influence of “Black Twitter” can be seen in the recent events in Ferguson, MI. For several days town authorities were not allowing journalists access to the town to report on the protests that broke out after the police shooting of unarmed 17 year old Micheal Brown. During this time some of the only information coming out of the town was over Twitter and primarily tweeted by African Americans. All over the world support was garnered for the protesters and the information  that the Black Twitter community provided allowed news sources to further spread the information coming out of Ferguson. It’s also worth noting that some of the information coming from the protesters’ tweets told a vastly different story than that told by the authorities and furthered the discussions and accusations of government corruption being involved in the events in Furguson.

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