For some time now, a large number of African Americans have become rather defensive about their preferences for media, in particularly social media. From television viewing to Twitter (blacks watch more TV and use Twitter more than any other U.S. ethnic group), the criticism has been warranted by study upon study.
The latest Pew Research report on Twitter use found that 28 percent of African American adult Internet users are actively involved on twitter, this compared with only nine percent of whites. The query remains as to why and what is the motivation.
It is not like African American Twitter users are amassed for the purpose of political or social revolution like other adult users around the world, namely in places such as Egypt, Tunisia, Iran or the Sudan. No, African American users tend to focus on the mundane, idiotic, useless and absurd.
When serving as an editor for the satire based publication The Onion, Baratunde Thurston, author of “How to Be Black,” noted that many of Twitter’s top trending topics are often dominated by black culture, with hashtags like #YouAintHittinItRight, #blackis and #blackaint. Recent hash tags have been dominated by reality personalities including #RHOA (real housewives of Atlanta), ##LHHATL (Love & Hip-Hop Atlanta) and this past May, #Atlantaslang took over the social medium drawing responses including “turnt up,” “guaponese,” “patna” and shawty.
Yes, unlike your local library or PTA, Twitter is dominated by blacks and has been since its inception. This area, like bank redlining is often called “Black Twitter.” Black Twitter is almost certainly located at the back of Twitter like the back of the bus during the pre-civil rights era.
One reason for this phenomenon, is the prefered use of mobile devices among African Americans, many claiming that tweeting was easier to do on cell phones than posting on Facebook via a desktop computer. In addition, African Americans seem to be less concerned about news, social activism and the sharing of information. Instead they tend to tweet about, and are more interested in celebrity and entertainment news, which are big drivers of Twitter traffic. In fact the top magazines and web sites that are predominantly African American in scope, support the leaning toward fluff news items since most focus on celebrity, entertainment and music.
I conducted a statistical trend analysis examination of any tweet mentioning a rapper, mixed tape release or song and compared it to tweets concerning the seven year-old girl, Heaven Sutton, who was shot in killed in Chicago recently while in front of her home selling lemonade. I proved to a statistical certainty that tweets on the aforementioned occurred 84 times to each 1 tweet about Sutton in a two hour period. When I asked about this one of my followers responded: @sfreynolds: “Cuz we don’t hear about a 7yr girl named Heaven and that ish is depressing. The mix tapes of rappers is not.”