I don’t Tweet.
I own a cellphone that is generously described as an ‘ 8-track’.
But, I’m around a lot of young people that use cellphones to do things that were unimaginable just 5 years ago.
This was posted at The Slate this past week:
How Black People Use Twitter: The latest research on race and microblogging.
By Farhad ManjooPosted
Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010, at 4:45 PM ET
As far as I can tell, the Twitter hashtag #wordsthatleadtotrouble got started at about 11 a.m. Pacific Time on Sunday morning, when a user named Kookeyy posted this short message: “#wordsthatleadtotrouble ‘Don’t Worry I gotchu.” A couple minutes later, Kookeyy posted another take on the same theme: “#wordsthatleadtotrouble – I Love Yuh *kiss teeth*.” On Twitter, people append hashtags to categorize their messages—the tags make it easier to search for posts on a certain topic, and they can sometimes lead to worldwide call-and-response conversations in which people compete to outdo one another with ever more hilarious, bizarre, or profane posts. A woman in South Africa named Tigress_Lee moved the chatter in that direction: “#wordsthatleadtotrouble ‘the condom broke’!” she wrote. From there, the meme took off. “We need to talk #wordsthatleadtotrouble,” declared BigJamaal (11,920 followers), and then he proceeded to post a blizzard of suggestions, including “#wordsthatleadtotrouble I dont know why you got that Magnum in your wallet you clearly live a Durex lifestyle.”
Over the next few hours, thousands of people added to the meme. According to Trendtistic, a site that monitors and archives hot Twitter topics, #wordsthatleadtotrouble was one of Twitter’s top 20 hashtags on Sunday, and it was the top tag that was not based on some real-life event (like the Teen Choice Awards or football). By Monday morning, Twitter was displaying #wordsthatleadtotrouble on its list of “trending topics.” If you’d clicked on the tag, you would have noticed that contributions to the meme ranged from the completely banal (“#wordsthatleadtotrouble we just going out with friends!”) to the slightly less so (“#wordsthatleadtotrouble I didn’t know she was your sister”). If you clicked when the meme was at its peak—that is, before it spread widely beyond the cluster of people who started it—you would have also noticed something else: To judge from their Twitter avatars, nearly everyone participating in #wordsthatleadtotrouble was black.
The prevalence of these tags has long puzzled nonblack observers and sparked lots of sometimes uncomfortable questions about “how black people use Twitter.” As the Awl’s Choire Sicha wrote last fall, “At the risk of getting randomly harshed on by the Internet, I cannot keep quiet about my obsession with Late Night Black People Twitter, an obsession I know some of you other white people share, because it is awesome.”
From the get go, this article bothered me.
From the Brown ‘ Tweet’, to the Brown ‘ Tweet’ having a baseball cap on, the whole article bothered me. Why a baseball cap? Why not just go for the du-rag?
Really? People stay up and follow Black people on Twitter? It’s really that ‘ awesome’?
There were so many angles that this article COULD have taken.
It could have talked about how, with Twitter, along with the proliferation of multi-use mobil devices, we have seen the lowering of the digital divide between different communities. That mobile devices, coupled with the expanded use of broadband, has cut the digital divide between Blacks and Whites in half in just over a year. How technology has brought the ability to utilize the web down to the masses- truly. When you can get a cellphone with unlimited internet capability for around $50/month from certain carriers, that bridges the gap for those who couldn’t access internet capabilities at their homes.
But, it didn’t go down that road. It went down the ‘let’s look at Black people like they’re in the zoo’ road. The entire undercurrent of the article was like folks had discovered some new world populated by aliens, and in this case, the aliens are Black people. Aren’t we Americans? Don’t we watch the same television, are subject to the same advertising and bombardment by the media like everyone else? So, why would it be a surprise that Black people do Twitter?
Reading this article just made me cringe.
Cheryl Contee aka "Jill Tubman", Baratunde Thurston aka "Jack Turner", rikyrah, Leutisha Stills aka "The Christian Progressive Liberal", B-Serious, Casey Gane-McCalla, Jonathan Pitts-Wiley aka "Marcus Toussaint," Fredric Mitchell
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