This past weekend, someone on Twitter made the accusation that Beyonce had been abused by her father. As expected, things quickly went left and this person found herself in a quagmire. After taking heat from some of Black Twitter’s most influential, she apologized. I thought it was over, but noticed something else happen. A few influential folks that didn’t hear about the tweet the night before awakened. And once they heard what happened, they called their followings to arms to address the offender. They reached out to influential followers to seek their thoughts. They (indirectly) asked others to chime in, which basically meant attack. It became clear at that moment who was aligned with who.
In many ways, this reminded me of high school or a play yard. People with a lot of fans were directing their audience toward another person, which is something that unfortunately happens often in Black Twitter. In watching it play out, I was reminded of how cliquey social media platforms — in this case Twitter — can be. I took a few moments to think about what I’ve observed in my timeline, and decided to highlight some of the groups that perpetuate the most negativity. Let’s get into it.
A few months ago I started to write a post on my views about feminism; more specifically, the people who go hard in the internet paint. I told a few friends about my plans and when I said the F word, they immediately told me to chill. They said I’d be torn to shreds or burned at the stake if I said anything that didn’t jive with their beliefs.
I’ll be honest with you. When I got introduced to this online world, I thought feminists were women that harbored misplaced aggression toward men. I could look at someone’s social media presence, and if it was hostile toward those with penises, I labeled them a feminist. I’ve learned since then that all feminists aren’t like that.
Similar to political parties, they have a right and a left. It just happens to be that the loudest voices online often act Tea Party-esquely. These loud voices also often equate negativity with progressivism. If they’re not hostile toward men, name-calling, or spewing what I consider vitriol, then they’re not moving the conversation forward. They’re less interested in being listened to, and more interested in being heard. Coincidentally, that same tactic has tumultuous results in relationships. But this post isn’t about that.
The Ambiguously Influential
You know those people with a ton of followers, but they’re not affiliated with any particular cause? They kinda just talk sh*t all day? Yeah, that’s who I’m talking about. I certainly don’t believe everyone on Twitter needs to have some cause or spoken affiliation. If that were the case, social media would be calculated and lame.
These are the folks that harbor significant influence, which they often use to “sick” their followers on anybody that speaks against them. I’ve spent time (more time than I’d like to admit) figuring out what it is that makes these people so attractive to their sheep. I’ve decided that it’s the facade of living a care-free life, where they can say and do whatever they want. Most of us have constraints in our daily lives. We go to work and have to filter, or come home and have to do the same with our family and (pick new) friends. Because the Ambiguously Influential can boldly “be themselves,” people who can’t do the same are drawn to them.
Many of the Ambiguously Influential fall into this category. When they’re not living care-free, they’re throwing out shade at celebrities and the non. And since Black Twitter is often drawn to negativity, as long as they’re “keeping it real” about people they’ve never met, their follower count soars. There are others, however, who define themselves by their ability to criticize. And hey, they have that right because of this thing called Freedom of Speech. And for me, these are the people that I often ask myself “Why am I following them?” only to realize it’s because they have a high follower count, which has somehow deemed them credible. As a result, I’ve embarked on a social media herbal cleanse.
Anything for a good joke. Anything for a few RTs. Nothing’s off-limits until the heat makes its way their way, which is when you see they’re real people.
I can get down with some of the comedians though. Simply because their goal is (usually) to make people laugh. There are a lot of people out there enduring the struggles of life, and a laugh is what they need to keep them going. Unfortunately, there are a few in this vacuum that raise my eyebrow because they can’t move up without dragging somebody else down. They live in accordance to the Book of Roasts. And everybody should be able to accept what The Comedians think they rightfully deserve.
The Federation of Celebrity Fans
The Beyhive. Team Breezy. The Rihanna Navy. The Barbie Dolls (The Most Aggressive and often the youngest of the bunch. I weep for our future.)
You’ve most likely heard of them all. You’ve see them in your timeline. When something happens in their celebrity’s life, they’re all over it. We could just call them stans, but they go a step further. They
cry promote and praise them at every opportunity. They’ll also defend them until their own online death. If you question the celebrity’s transgressions or dislike something about them, they will sting your avatar into anaphylactic shock. But in real life, they just stare. And maybe, if they’re feeling aggressive, they’ll whip out their phones and tweet about you.
Tweedom Fighters are floaters. They may or may not have an allegiance to a particular person or persons — though I find they often align with The Feminists.
If there’s a cause they can latch onto and rake muck about, you’ll find them there. Tweedom Fighters are all (and only) about online activism. Remember Occupy Wall Street? Well, Tweedom Fighters know how to Occupy All Tweets. They rally hard. When a topic’s hot, they’ll tweet their hearts out and go after whoever doesn’t support their opinions. But when the topic of the day has passed, they’re on to their next cause. They’ll also do stuff like co-opt hashtags and then high five each other once they feel they’ve taken over the discussion. The problem is that when they wake up in the morning, everything is the same.
As much as I’d like to say this post is an exaggeration, it reflects reality. Though all groups can be combined under one name (Black Twitter), I find it interesting how divided we continually are. That’s the one thing from this that can sadly be taken from the keyboard to the pavement. These factions aren’t going anywhere, but I hope you take a moment to think about where you fall. And if you fall no where, just understand that you’re probably in a better place than a lot of people. And it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t end this without asking…
Are you just a follower or a leader? And if you’re a leader, where are you bringing your people?
Do you agree with the groups listed above? If not, where would you make changes or what would you add? Do you think men also break down into groups like this? If so, how would you break them down? Looking forward to hearing your thoughts today. And if you know people in your timeline that would appreciate this, do share.