Today, social media is the go-to communication mechanism for connecting and creating opportunities for individuals to freely express their thoughts and opinions. The idea of free expression on social media is extremely pivotal particularly for African-Americans whose voices are often silenced in U.S. history. Black Twitter, a sub-culture of Twitter, consists of content that focus on current issues and topics that are directly related and affect the Black community.  This sub-culture within Twitter has been the driving force behind administering important initiatives such as #BlackLivesMatter and My Brother’s Keeper. Black Twitter is often referred to as the modern day civil rights movement has brought together people of like-minds on particular issues within the Black community in a new and valuable way. 

Although Black twitter has played a significant role in amplifying declarations of the African American community toward social change, its validity and use remains minimal within academic settings. We investigate the trajectory of various blacktags — twitter hash tags that include content related to the black community — and tweets that appear frequently amongst active tweeters who are apart of Black Twitter. Recent examples of blacktags include #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen, #IfTheyGunnedMeDown, #BlackLivesMatter, #ICantBreathe #HandsUpDontShoot, #BlackGirlJoy, #BlackGirlMagic. Various racialized blacktags span the cultural experiences of African Americans and others have been instrumental in mobilizing and producing social change and awareness. By analyzing trending topics, issues, and movements, conclusions can be made on how to influence future tweets and hashtags associated with Black Twitter.

Several Significant Readings

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Sanjay Sharma (2013). Black Twitter?: Racial Hashtags, Networks and Contagion. New Formations: A Journal of Culture/Theory/Politics 78, 46-64. Lawrence & Wishart.

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Meredith D. Clark (2018). #BlackTwitter. Medium.

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Jack Grieve, Andrea Nini and Diansheng  Guo (2018). Mapping Lexical Innovation on American Social Media. Journal of English Linguistics. 

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Chris Wilson (2009). uknowureblack, The Root. 

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André Brock (2012). From the Blackhand Side: Twitter as a Cultural Conversation, Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 56:4, 529-549.

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Sarah Florini (2014). 

Tweets, tweeps, and signifyin': Communication and cultural performance on "black twitter". Television and New Media, 15(3), 223-237. 

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Aaron Smith and Monica Anderson (2018). Social Media Use in 2018. Pew Research Center: Internet and Technology. 

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SLANG lab. TwitterAAE: Research on African-American English on Twitter. College of Information and Computer Sciences, University of Massachusetts Amherst. 

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