Black Twitter has quickly and deservingly become one of the most influential communities amongst all social platforms. From funny memes to spreading awareness on current social issues, Back Twitter has shaped the way we move as a society. Serving as a catapult for social issues, black history, and pop culture, Black Twitter continues to make create waves in an ocean full of information. So much so, that it’s impact has changed the way mainstream companies market and has even helped push certain issues to the forefront of mainstream media coverage outlets.
When Twitter first launched in 2006, its main objective was to provide SMS like status updates amongst friends. However, 13 years after its launch it has become home to 330 million monthly active users. From those 330 million twitter users, emerged one of the most prominent communities, popularly known as Black Twitter, that shifted the way information would be outsourced and received.
Black Twitter has helped pioneer the new age of social justice activists. Many of the movements that we know of today such as Black Lives Matter, Me Too, and Trans is Beautiful were all created using one of the key functions Twitter has to offer, the #Hashtag. These hashtags are a key functionality of why Twitter is so prominent being that they allow people to connect with other users who are tweeting about the same issue/topic they are.
With the help of these hashtags, movements were created to give a voice to communities that were forced to be quiet. Starting from simple hashtags and growing into nationwide and even worldwide movements, these movements spread awareness on victories and hardships for many communities. One of the most popular movements, #BlackGirlMagic, was created to shed light on the capabilities of Black girls and women. #TransIsBeautiful was created to empower trans women in a society that constantly suppressed them. #BlackBoyJoy was implemented to show Black men in all their glory and fight off negative stereotypes that are cast upon them by society.
Aside from creating powerful movements, Black Twitter also has the ability to “bring the fam together”. This experience usually occurs during a staple event like the BET Awards, Oscars, Grammy’s or even political debates. From these events, hashtags like #OscarsSoWhite were born where users shared their distaste for the lack of diversity within the 2015 Oscars. In return, it creates a sense that the entire Black community/ “the fam” is in your living room watching with you.
In addition to the social impact Black Twitter has, it has also birthed a new generation of comedians and influencers that have used the platform to pioneer their careers. By posting funny pictures, tweets, and videos, Black Creatives have used the presence of Black Twitter to introduce and further develop their artistry. From posting viral tweets that will be spread across other platforms like Instagram and Facebook to creating comedy sketches, Black Twitter has fully utilized all components of Twitter.
Even more so, Black Twitter has also influenced the way many companies market themselves and interact with their consumers. Whether it be Burger King using AAVE (African American Vernacular English) to throw shade at Wendy’s or Pizza Hut taking jabs at Dominos, these are all a direct reflection on the impact that Black Twitter has on our favorite mainstream companies.
With that being said, just as quickly as these companies are to include our dialect and mannerisms, we must also be sure to protect the culture that makes us so great in the first place. For all active participants in Black Twitter, whether you be an aspiring creative or simply tweeting on your lunch break (or both), please make sure you’re getting what you’re owed. Many companies will emulate our behaviors to get the “black vote” and appeal to a trendier demographic (the same demographic we helped shape), however, that does not mean these companies have diverse media rooms or are dedicated to erasing the oppression of our people.
Black Twitter is a community where the past and present have joined forces to shape the future. It is the voice and the reason, the sun that shines no matter the season. All in all, Black Twitter has influenced society in more ways than acknowledged. It has driven a new wave of social justice while catapulting careers and giving voices to unheard communities. Black Twitter truly is the community that does it all.