Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

What Were Black People Talking About on Twitter Last Night?

Black People TwitterAt 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. The only reason that White People Twitter knows about Black People Twitter is because when you white people wake up on the East Coast or when you go to bed late on the West Coast, the trending topics are hilarious chat-memes, ruling the trending topics, and yes, last night's was the very funny #uainthittinitright. There was even for a time a blog devoted to racist backlash to Black People Twitter that, unfortunately, stopped publishing this summer. See, now, MySpace and Facebook and (LOL) Friendster didn't have anything to bring different worlds together. Your "social network" was only yours, and there wasn't enough chaos in the system to bridge networks-you never know what's going on outside your stupid little bubble. And Black People Twitter isn't the noise in the signal that Twitter is trying to leach out-it's huge, organic and it is seemingly seriously nocturnal. Except it's really not.

A friend and I were talking the other day about why, in particular, Black People Twitter happens at night. In fact, it's the other way around: White People Twitter for the most part happens during the American daytime. Black People Twitter happens all the time.

White geek Nick Douglas had a theory about Black People Twitter a while ago. His friend suggested "These people don't have real Twitter friends. So they all respond to trending topics." This is so obviously wrong. ("No, they have their own communities and their own friends that you are not paying attention to," wrote Maria Diaz.) And then Douglas himself posted a great response to his poor dumb friend: "It's the nature of how we craft these environments to suit our core comforts and fine tune our twitter experiences. Twitter's addition of the trending topics bar has simply shattered our insulated perception of how everyone uses this thing."

But seriously-talk about being in a bubble!-demographically, there is a greater proportion of black people than white people among the Internet-using population on Twitter: according to Pew, 26% of African-Americans online use Twitter; only 19% of white Internet people use Twitter. So really the question is: why does Twitter get so white and boring during the day? Don't white people do anything at work?

49 Comments / Post A Comment

HiredGoons (#603)

"Street slang is an increasingly acceptable form of expression. Most of the feminine pronouns do have mocking, but not necessarily misogynistic undertone."

Dude. Are you jeepin behind my back?

garge (#736)


HiredGoons (#603)

You're a virgin, who can't drive.

Wow. You guys talk like grown-ups!

crookedE (#1,817)

Old people can be so sweet!

Emily (#20)

Yay, the Race Is A Social Construct tag!!!

New book idea:

Stuff Black People Tweet

I'm off to pitch it to the publishing companies.

(Hands off Nick Douglas – I thought of it first!)

jeffreynye (#2,179)

No, the link says that 26% of African-American "online adults" use Twitter. NOT that 26% of Twitter users are African-American. Huge difference.

OH YES. Science! Thank you! I had to read it 8 times to figure this out.

fitta (#526)

When I first read the last sentence of this post, my first thought was 19+26=45, and that means that a full 55% of Twitter users were Asian, Hispanic, Native American or I dunno, Pacific Islander. That seemed fascinating.

But looking at the link to the Pew survey, I don't think it's saying that more black people than white people are on twitter — I think it's saying that 26% of black adult internet users are on twitter v. 19% of white adult internet users. Given the ratios of black and white people in the overall population, this suggests that there are probably still more white people than black people on Twitter overall.

Whatever – Fernando Lamas lives!

This post has been updated to reflect 1. the actual facts and 2. me having coffee.

Gah. There is indeed a Fernando Lamas. *Hangs head in shame* (Don't ask, everyone.)

kneetoe (#1,881)

The overall population of internet users, that is. Either way, yes, that would be way more whitey. I get 8.7 million African American twitterers and 43.3 million white ones. Now, how to kill another 6 plus hours?

holycalamity (#1,234)

I'm so incorporating this into my standup routine.

"White people tweet like this…."
(Mimic typing while standing up straight, keeping elbows in)
"…but black people tweet like THIS"
(Still typing, but leaning back, head tilted to one side, arm outstretched to other side)

gregorg (#30)

had to look three times to realize your avatar is not Howie Mandel. Though in my defense, you DID mention standup.

holycalamity (#1,234)

Common mistake. If the avatar was only a wee bit bigger, you'd see that it's legendary Italian soccer referee Pierluigi Collina in a Japanese octopus dumpling ad campaign.

ATLien (#2,180)

This is essentially what my friend's new site does… aggregate Tweets from 4 cities and gives you the option to choose the Tweet from Atlanta (to make it a fun game).

Check it out ;)

sox (#652)

this would be way more funny if they weren't in the same order and from the same atl tweeter every time?
but the first time was fun i guess.

janine (#248)

A little off topic, but does anyone else here read Crunk & Disorderly? That blogger, Fresh, is probably the greatest tagger in the world. Her tags for her post on the latest Lady Gaga video were: "Chew This Ass, Doing The Most, and I'm So Different!" She gave a photo of Steven Tyler the simple tag, "YAAAAAASSSSS!!!" Love it!

Renate (#360)

Crunk & Disorderly and Dlisted are must reads on the Internet. Fresh's tags and the comments section of C&D have left me in tears and unable to breathe many times. My people are funny as hell, yo.

Spena (#640)

Crunk & Disorderly taught me so much about the art of tagging. With all credit given to Fresh, I've started using her tag language in my own life.

This is my testimony.

janine (#248)

"Girl Hand Me Some Glowsticks!" (I can do this all day!)

BoHan (#29)

It probably has a lot to do with Shaq being one of the original kings of Twitter. He is hilarious. I have his tweets texted to me. But now I will expand my horizons.

unforeseeable (#2,158)

What is Friendster?
And who is this Miss Gaga character everybody keeps talking about?

I can't Gags LinkedIn profile :(

Grrr 'find'
I can't find Gag's LinkedIn Profile

also: fun fact, I can't proof read!

Sharpless (#1,957)

I know. <3

I, uh, acknowledged this trending topic earlier today (, but didn't consider that in so doing I might be making some kind of racist commentary on it. I guess I don't really consider the "U ain't hittin' it right" meme to be strictly the province of black people.

It reminded me of a Fucked in Park Slope post about a fracas that broke out in the Court Street movie theater after a woman refused to shush her crying baby ( One of the commenters accused the writer of the post of being racist by calling out the women involved; another defended the writer by pointing out that she'd never once referred to the race of the brawling theatergoers. The writer merely recounted some of the dialogue, which the accuser interpreted as coming from black people.

Point is: I don't think it was only Black People on Twitter who drove #uainthittinitright, though the bulk of the Tweeters of it may have indeed been black.

Or maybe I'm just being defensive. Anyway.

JaguarPaw (#312)

Can we get a "WARNING: Nick Douglas" tag here? Because people should really be warned if you're gonna refer to him, let alone quote his "logic".

Apparatchik (#811)

Clareece "Precious" Jones tweeting shit her mom says is my new favorite black person twitter:

HiredGoons (#603)

thank you.

Ronit (#1,557)

Weird. I just noticed this too. Twitter is really full of black people at night.

Flashman (#418)

Ok, but what do you do if her booty keeps making that slapping sound?

NickDouglas (#2,186)

I'm really honored to have my theory on race and technology quoted from my personal blog, but I stress that this is a blog where I write *half-baked scraps of ideas*. I also stress that I totally misrepresented my friend's observation if I at all implied it was a serious theory. He simply made the mistake of IMing it to me.

Seriously guys, this was not anyone's thesis. I wrote this theory on my blog. You know what else I put on my blog? A PICTURE OF A FART.

cocolamala (#2,218)

where is the active link to Shai's comment you reposted on your tumblr?

fairest (#413)

"You've made strides with teenagers and the Negro market."

Myspace as a model of social networking white flight! DO IT DO IT!!!!

HiredGoons (#603)

so true.

rachael (#2,195)

Viewing American class divisions through Facebook and MySpace []
danah boyd is doing some really interesting research related to class divisions on social networking sites. The essay I've linked is a couple years old, but is totally on-point.

sistertoldja (#2,197)

What is amazing to me is that for the thousands of "Late Night Black People" Tweets, you chose to highlight one that included the N word and another with a woman who doesn't appear to be Black, just using a "Black" Trending Topic. In case you were wondering, we were talking about you being an asshole tonight.

helloitsme (#2,211)

This guy is an idiot here is the proof.
“White People Twitter for the most part happens during the American daytime.” What idiot blows (squanders) a wonderful opportunity to make use of this tremendous platform. His words speak volumes.

FYI Web Master.. The article does not appear (load) in the 10.0.1 Opera Web Browser (only the comments appeared) I had to open Firefox to View the article.

cocolamala (#2,218)

"It's the nature of how we craft these environments to suit our core comforts and fine tune our twitter experiences…"

i think that quote ought to be attributed to Shia, the comment's original author, (rather than to the reposter alone), just as the earlier quote is attributed to its author, Maria Diaz.

and why no active link to shia's original comment on nick's page?

Shai (#2,221)

Yeaaa… thas what I was thinking too. Thanks for looking me out lol. And wow that my comment actually made some distance around the web.
21st century life is pretty dope.

cocolamala (#2,218)

sorry about mispelling your id Shai

…gives the side eye to everyone else on this thread…

tigolbitties (#2,150)

"sorry i'm late… c.p. time" – lulz x 10

JennyChu2 (#2,243)

Since I am in the Hong Kong time zone (hence your night is my day) and use Twitter only at (daytime) work, it was my impression for quite a while that pretty much all Twitter users in the Western hemisphere are what Silvio Belusconi would call "suntanned". Only when I logged on to Twitter at home one night (your day) did I realize that was only part of the story.

Dcapron (#188,809)

I have to say it"who gives a shit"

I see between OWS and welfare,most have nothing better to do.

Lazyness begats idleness.


muhammad@twitter (#228,883)


Post a Comment