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Black Twitter is an online social movement made of people of African American descent using the microblogging and social networking site Twitter.
The earliest known use of the term “Black Twitter” was in the title of an article titled “Black Twitter: A Starter Kit,” which was published on the African American culture online magazine The Root on February 4th, 2010. The article contained useful tips for using Twitter, arguing that the black community is a “powerful force” on the microblogging site.
Brown Twitter Bird
Brown Twitter Bird is a cartoon character and Twitter hashtag inspired by a controversial Slate article published on August 10th, 2010. The article featured an illustration of a Twitter bird with brown feather and a blue baseball cap with a hashtag printed on it (shown below, left), which many regarded as stereotypical and offensive. In response, many Twitter users made parody versions of the image, dressing the bird in a variety of different costumes (shown below, middle, right).
On January 18th, 2011, The Root published an article titled “Black Twitter: Trending Topics Paint the Wrong Picture,” reporting that black black people make up 25% of all Twitter users. On December 13th, the African American news site News One published a “Black Twitter History” inforgraphic (shown below).
In March of 2012, writer Kimberly Ellis (a.k.a. “Dr. Goddess”) held a presentation at the South by Southwest (SXSW) conference in Austin, Texas titled “The Bombastic Brilliance of ‘Black Twitter’.” On December 20th, the men’s interest blog Complex published an article about negative misconceptions associated with Black Twitter. On February 18th, 2013, the black men’s interest blog Single Black Male published an article about the different types of Black Twitter users. On May 31st, the viral content site BuzzFeed published a list titled “8 Things You’ll Find on Black Twitter,” which provided examples of tweets from Black Twitter. On the same day, The Huffington Post Live aired a segment on Black Twitter (shown below).
On July 16th, BuzzFeed published an article about the role Black Twitter played in killing the book deal for one of the jurors in George Zimmerman‘s trial. On the following day, CNN aired a segment on "The Influence of ’Black Twitter’," citing its involvement in the Trayvon Martin trial (shown below).
On August 7th, 2013, Ebony Magazine posted a tweet mocking rumors that Tea Party activists would be boycotting the magazine for their September cover dedicated to the memory of Trayvon Martin (shown below). The same day, News One reported that jokes about the rumored boycott subsequently circulated on the microblogging site under the hashtag “#WhitePeopleBoycottingEBONY.”