Op-Ed: Black People, Black Twitter, and Their Response
Almost always underestimated, Twitter has a great power that many people fail to take advantage of. At the tips of one’s fingertips, Twitter is able to relay news, entertainment, music, and many other things. Within Twitter, one major distinction that one is bound to come across is what has grown to be known as “Black Twitter.”
Twitter has always been a way for users to stay updated on the latest trends. As trends are carried throughout the application, Black users of the app are destined (and expected to) add their own comedic opinions and parodies to both serious and not-so-serious tweets seen throughout each day.
The usage of a hashtag is an easy way to see various collections and threads of tweets from Black Twitter users, because most of the time, Twitter’s comedy gold is found within these hashtags. Similar to the “cool kids” at school, Black Twitter is that group that many people admire but can never become a part of. What validates membership into Black Twitter is not a monthly installment or subscription; in order to become a part of Black Twitter, a BLACK person must simply download the app and create an account.
Three features make Black Twitter a vital part of Twitter: comedy in harsh situations, intelligence in a misinformed social world, and resilience in the face of White negativity. Often online, people may tweet things that are “taken out of context,” “misinterpreted,” or “accidental.” These instances may come off as extremely offensive to some. When things like this happen, instead of taking offense, Black Twitter takes advantage. An example of this is the #NiggerNavy Hashtag.One of Yahoo’s Twitter accounts, had an alleged typo in one of its tweets, typing “Nigger” instead of “bigger.” Instead of taking offense to this term, Black Twitter banded together to make hilarious jokes about the situation. In doing this, Black Twitter showed the world that 1) it is okay to make mistakes and, 2) comedy is the best medicine.
Next, Black Twitter uses Twitter to spread knowledge to the misinformed. Whether it is by stating the obvious while responding to trolls, or proving a point to someone stuck in their ways, Black Twitter is able to drop facts in any Twitter instance. When people are unwilling to listen to what is being said, this makes matters a bit hard to come about, however, it is important to note that it does not matter what people think about the truth.
Lastly, Black Twitter is a way for Black people to stay in their element. When following users, one typically follows people who are similar to themselves. This is expected because it allows for like-minded content to be displayed on timelines throughout the day. For Black Twitter, this is an opportunity to avoid unwanted negativity from White racists and trolls. This self-imposed separation is for the best, because it avoids uninvited stress and conflict.
With just 140 characters, Twitter allows users an outlet for self-expression, entertainment, and news. The presence of Black Twitter is what makes Twitter special; without it, the application would not be what it is today.
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