A recent Pew study (Smartphone Ownership 2013) found that blacks were about 10% more likely than whites to own smartphones, and that young urban people regardless of income are very likely to own smartphones. (With older people, a smartphone is more of a luxury.)
It’s little wonder, then, that phone-friendly Twitter has been such a rich source of cultural information on the Zimmerman trial. This brief reflection on “Black Twitter” covers the issue well.
Last night, just hours after news broke that as-yet-unidentified “Juror B37” from the George Zimmerman trial had found a book agent, the agent decided to drop her. Shortly after dropping the budding author, the agent, Sharlene Martin, released a statement from Juror B37 that said she wouldn’t write the book after all: Being sequestered had “shielded me from the depth of pain that exists among the general public over every aspect of this case.”
If only Juror B37 had turned to Black Twitter before deciding to cash in.
Because Black Twitter watchers know the power of the swarm. That obsessive and focused online conversation has gone from being a source of entertainment — and outside curiosity — to a cultural force in its own right. Black Twitter began making jokes at Paula Deen’s expense in order to keep from crying — but ultimately drove the narrative around her and sped her demise. Black Twitter put the ABC show Scandal at the center of the elite conversation. Now, black folks on Twitter aren’t just influencing the conversation online, they’re creating it.