Black Twitter: A Starter Kit
Twitter Who? Glad you asked. The Root picks its favorite commentators in the hottest social medium of the new decade.
If you’re just getting hype to Web 2.0 (I mean, you’re at The Root!) and have no idea what Twitter is or refers to, here are the rules:
You can speak with people using the “@” sign, and flag topics using the ‘#’ sign.
You have to express yourself in 140 characters or less.
That’s pretty much it. The juggernaut social networking platform which amassed almost 20 million users in 2009, offers both instant gratification and the collective knowledge of the global Twitterverse. Twitter feeds cover topics from sports to politics to, yes, what someone, somewhere ate for breakfast. The most popular accounts are manned by celebrities like Ashton Kutcher or Oprah Winfrey, while others are run by major news outlets like CNN or the New York Times, or national retailers like Whole Foods or Zappos—which can provide real-time customer service to potential buyers who send tweets in their direction. It also has legitimate civic and political uses: Newark Mayor Cory Booker, a prolific “tweeter” with over 1 million followers, responded to a constituent whose 65-year old father needed his sidewalk shoveled. Within an hour of their Twitter exchange, Booker showed up with shovels, salt, and volunteers.
As The Root has documented, the black community—while less represented in tech-heavy professions—is nonetheless a powerful force on Twitter: Topics relating to black American culture continually top the regularly updated list of most popular Twitter commentary. Exact figures for Twitter use among blacks have yet to surface, but The Root has picked its favorite black commentators in the Twitter game. Any of them would make a fine addition to the beginning Tweeter’s catalogue.
The Root Staff
@teresawiltz—senior culture critic