Black Twitter Uses Social Media To Power 21st Century Civil Rights Movement

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“A lot of people want to run people off of Twitter, but that’s not an approach that I think is appropriate for everything because they can delete that Twitter account and create a new one that you don’t know about,” Lauren told NewsOne in a recent interview. “And they don’t have to suspend it. If you’re not following them, they can change their name and the next thing you know, you don’t know about what their Twitter is anymore, so that approach isn’t always good. And it depends on what you want your outcome to be. If you want to drive them off of Twitter that’s one thing. But if your outcome is more than getting them off Twitter, you have to try other tactics. But for trying to get the book stopped that couldn’t be the only tactic.”

Lauren had fewer than 1,500 Twitter followers before her Twitter push — she had 10,000 after. It is a clear indication that someone with a relatively small number of followers can reach audiences well beyond their base, if his or her message is honed correctly.


Los Angeles-based PR professional Janet Dickerson learned the power of social media when she created a petition demanding that Damon Feldman cancel the celebrity boxing match he organized between Zimmerman and DMX. Dickerson’s petition, which encouraged signees to contact Feldman via his Twitter handle and email address, generated more than 125,000 signatures in less than 10 days; he would eventually pull out of the fight for “moral reasons.”

While Dickerson has only 1,300 followers, it wasn’t about the numbers for those who wanted to support her cause.

“To me, it really didn’t matter how many followers they had,” Dickerson said in an interview with NewsOne. “They could have had 50 followers or 50,000 followers. I just knew the more people who came across the petition, the more interested they would be in signing it. From there it took on a life of it’s own.”


A few weeks ago, Nicki Manaj was trending for all of the wrong reasons when she used the iconic photo of Malcolm X standing near the window of his Queens, N.Y., home holding an assault rifle with the title of her new single “Lookin’ Ass Nigga” emblazoned over the image. When Rosa Clemente, a civil rights activist and former vice-presidential candidate, caught wind of the cover, she took to and rallied several thousand, like-minded people to demand that the rapper pull the cover. Minaj eventually apologized and many supporters on social media credited Clemente for drawing their attention to the cover art.

“I had to say something,” Clemente told NewsOne. “I don’t need permission from somebody. Social media, especially as it relates to Black and Latino folks, is powerful. She’s dead wrong. There are some things that we have to say are unacceptable.”

And what the Dream Defenders, Lauren, Clemente and Dickerson have all taught us is that, with a well-conceived hashtag, properly-worded tweet or effectively-written petition, you can reach thousands of people without ever having to open your mouth.


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