Don Lemon: When Will Black Twitter Recognize Its Strength?

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    We first learned and I first reported on the power of Black Twitter back in the summer after the George Zimmerman verdict.

    Remember Juror B-37, the first to speak out after the George Zimmerman trial? She had clinched a deal to write a book about her experiences during the trial. That was before she went on CNN and referred to George Zimmerman casually as “George.”

    She said, “if they came in the same situation than where Trayvon was then George would have reacted the very same way.”

    Black Twitter went ballistic, started a Change.org petition and within hours the book deal was dead.

    Black Twitter also zeroed in on Paula Deen after she admitted to using the N-word in the past. Deen lost a series of endorsements.

    And more recently after the Michael Dunn verdict Black Twitter  started a hashtag  that went viral called “Dangerous Black Kids” which spoofed the fear Dunn testified feeling before shooting up a car full of teenagers and killing 17-year old Jordan Davis.

    Now, there is an official Pew Research Center report which shows the growing influence of the Black Twitter internet community.

    According to Pew, while a similar number of blacks and whites use the internet, a higher percentage of blacks, 22 percent use twitter compared to whites, 16 percent.

    Experts say it’s because black people and those who identify with the black struggle are increasingly using Twitter as an outlet to tell their own stories rather than having the larger culture tell it for them.

    Even civil rights organizations like the NAACP are seeing the importance and power of Black Twitter by tying initiatives to twitter by adding hashtags.

    Not all black tweeters are Black.

    And not all Black people who tweet are part of Black Twitter. But those who are tweet often about race, pop culture and issues that interest the black community.

    Black Twitter can be smart, snarky, funny and downright mean. Most times it should be taken with a grain of salt, but sometimes not; just ask Paula Deen or juror B-37.

    However, the common criticism of Black Twitter is it is often too snarky, too funny, too mean and not nuanced enough.

    But I say, Black Twitter is young and perhaps isn’t yet aware of its own power. Give it time.

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