Shai lays down science on the Black People on Twitter theory
So my friend had a theory on why minorities seem to dominate Twitter trend search results: “These people don’t have real Twitter friends. So they all respond to trending topics. And that’s the game, that’s how they use Twitter.” (He wasn’t saying this was “doing it wrong,” just different from what he was used to seeing.)
Some smart people reblogged it. Then a smart person going by “Shai” blew all the other smart people out of the water in a comment:
lol I always thought ‘we’ were using it the right way.
Anyway we definitely have friends and followers and vibrant communities on twitter. Ive even met a few (albeit insulated) black people that weren’t aware that white geeky people use twitter and could not fathom what they use it for. So the theory that minorities use trending topics because they don’t have contacts from more traditional means (followers, etc.,) is uninformed.
In any case, trending topic games are simply a way to open the conversation for the purposes of greater amusement, which I have always assumed to be the only reasonable use for Twitter.
If I were to play Af Am Studies professor I might submit that the inane trending topics provide a platform for shit talking and humorous signifying (see: jive talking, the dozens) on a broader less personal cyber scale. Its a party line. A giggle. An ‘oh snap” accompanied by exaggerated hand movements, and why not. Its 140 characters, common sense would suggest that something so insignificant should not, could not possibly be used for too much of anything else, or atleast nothing much more important. But it would be ridiculous to suggest that even this much thought goes into the phenomenon.
The self selection may appear skewed, but from my experience if the personalities im following are using the trending topics and I would like to participate in the game then I will too, and then once it hits the sidebar there are even more people participating that I can interact with. I dont have any data but I would guess that the average minority twitter user has a disproportionately high number of minorities in their own timelines which would perpetuate the perception that ‘everyone’ is doing it this way.
…Actually now that I think of it my Twitterverse is totally ethnic, with the only non minorities being rappers, djs, and the writers of a few blogs I like.
So I can see how you, Mr. Micah, could be so confused about whats going on outside of your twitterverse. Its the nature of how we craft these environments to suit our core comforts and fine tune our twitter experiences.
Twitter’s addition of the trending topics bar has simply shattered our insulated perception of how everyone uses this thing.
P.S. Sorry i’m late…c.p. time :)
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