My friend asked me this one time on gchat, “Why is it that Black people tweet so damn much?” I immediately answered him back with, “Because Twitter is the underground railroad of Corporate America.” We both shared a quick laugh and then we got back to doing what we do best, fly below the radar at our jobs. However, to be honest with you the reason that Black people tweet so much is because very rarely do Black people in America find themselves in settings where they can truly be heard. If you notice, there are times when Black people will tweet a lot, and then there are times when they will not tweet much at all. The true test of someone’s vacation is whether or not they are tweeting. It’s simple, if you have time to tweet then you are not enjoying yourself. I remember a few years back a friend of mine was gchatting with me while in Vegas, I told him, “There’s no way you’re having a good time if you have time to chat with me.” And he wasn’t, he was in Vegas with a group of strangers that he didn’t feel comfortable talking around. (I’ll even go as far to say that in addition to Twitter, you’d probably notice that Black people’s gchat use is significantly higher than our white counterparts. Actually, a study once found that Black people make up 25% of the U.S. Twitter population, meaning our presence on Twitter is double our presence in the general population.)
Today’s Mixtape is a special from @CarvertheGreat and @Chan_LO, this is called Sophisticated Ignorance, right click here and save target as, or stream below, playlist is at the end of the post:
In order to explain why Black people tweet so much, or why it’s perceived that way, I point to four very key landmarks in Black history:
1) The Negro Spiritual – Twitter is an effective medium of communication for Black people to speak with their friends while they’re at work. It’s a quick and short message (or rant) to everyone following them. You can give out messages to your peoples that you couldn’t otherwise pass over the phone or aloud. For example, how does it look when you’re at your desk yapping on the phone about happy hour and debating the when and where? However, you can get on Twitter and tweet, “Where’s everyone headed for happy hour today?” or “I’ll be at the Empire Room later for happy hour.”
2) The novel, Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison – Black people are suppressed in corporate America, maybe more accurately described as white Corporate America. We’re not seen by our leadership and many times even our peers neglect to see us in the workplace. You don’t have a soundboard to vent to when things aren’t going well, or even someone to agree with your points. Many times you have the right answer in your mind, but you’re never championed in your workplace to share. (And we all know how much Black people hate talking when no one is listening or cares about what we have to say.) Twitter affords you the ability to express yourself. You can sound off your theory on how to solve a problem at your job or just complain about work because you can’t do that with the other people at your job, them dudes might snitch. So while you’re sitting in a meeting that makes no sense you can draft a quick tweet, “This man got one more time to come out his face talking to me … watch.” This lets all your friends know that you’re having a rough day at work. You blow off a little steam and nobody at your place of employment gets hurt.
3) Hip Hop – The Negro spiritual and the concept of the “Invisible Man” is are both about misdirection; and that’s exactly what hip hop was back in its roots. It was a way for the people in the ghetto to communicate with the people in the ghetto and know that nobody outside the ghetto was listening. We were talking about things that mattered to us about us. And that’s all that “Black Twitter” is, things that matter to us, that are about us. For example, “If your girl skips track #2 on Watch The Throne, #sheahoe” is mad informative in the hood. But, “If your girl has Ralph Lauren riding boots, #sheahoe” doesn’t mean a thing in white America, to them that just mean she’s putting out. That’s likely to get a girl about 20-50 more followers. Informative to Black people, irrelevant to white people. #nahmsaying.
4) Together we stand, Divided we fall – Black people have always found strength in numbers. We just love to do things together. Black people go to the bathroom together, we go to church together, we march together, we go to the DMV together, we do everything together, it’s only natural that we even tweet together. If you come up on Twitter on a Sunday night it’s not surprising to see “Black Twitter” going off for #TrueBlood or #BBW. I’m going to tell you something that’s going to bend all y’all noodles. Have you ever noticed that when you look back at the sitcoms on TV all the Black families watched TV together? Good Times, Fresh Prince, Cosby Show, Living Single, Martin, go back and watch those shows and peep when they are watching TV, they was always in the living room, and they did it TOGETHER. Now think about this, where was Zack’s TV? In his room. Where was Joey’s TV? In his room. How come you never saw Al and Bud watching TV together? That’s just how Black people have always been. We have always been looking for ways to show a unified front in society. I would go as far as to say, you can’t get 1 million Black people to march on the National Mall in 2011, but you sure as hell could get 1 million Black people to follow you on Twitter if you get your Klout up on #TrueBlood.
It’s that simple, that’s all the reasoning that anyone should need to understand the amount of tweets by a Black person versus a white person. Twitter is just like basketball or football, wasn’t originally made for Black people, but we took that sh*t to a WHOLE NEW LEVEL. Black people have a history of taking something originally intended to be enjoyed only slightly, turning it into talent and a way out the hood. Don’t get me wrong, this is not to say that white people don’t tweet a lot too, Pistol Pete and Larry Bird had great careers in basketball. But just like those guys, the only white person I know who has like 80K tweets, actually thinks she’s a Black girl trapped in a white girl’s body. So yeah…
– Dr. J
TRACKLIST – 1. Candy Paint by E-40, Slim Thug, Bun B, 2. Spend It by Tity Boi (2 Chainz), 3. Carter IV Interlude by Tech 9ne & Andre 3000, 4. Never Done by Baby D, 5. That Sh*t Real by The-Dream & Pharrell, 6. Marvin Gaye & Chardonnay by Big Sean & Kanye, 7. Illest Motherf*cker Alive by Jay-Z & Kanye, 8. The Zone by The Weeknd & Drake, 9. That Way by Wale, Jeremih, & Rick Ross