Young black and Latino internet users are more than twice as likely to use Twitter as are white internet users, according to a new report released yesterday by the Pew Internet & American Life Project.
While eight percent of all Internet users tweet, Pew found that 13 percent of black internet users are on Twitter, and 18 percent of Latinos are. Just five percent of white folks are on the site. Comedian Baratunde Thurston made similar observations at South by Southwest this year. “Twitter’s culture is black,” he said, citing popular hashtags on Twitter like #blackis, #blackaint, #YouAintHittinItRight that are cultivated by black users, and then become trending topics after they’ve been re-tweeted thousands of times.
This week, one of the most popular hashtags that was tweeted thousands of times was “#ThingsBlackGirlsDo.”
According to Brendan Meeder, a Ph.D. candidate studying Twitter and social media at Carnegie Mellon University, there’s more to it than just sheer numbers of black people on Twitter. In an interview with Slate, Meeder explained black users on Twitter are able to start trends because they tend to follow each other more rapidly, retweet each other more often and form tighter clusters where they use Twitter like a chatroom. Of course, that Slate piece got mocked by black folks—on where else but Twitter—who poked fun at their attempt at cultural anthropology of the black social media experience.
Visit Pew Internet & American Life Project to download the full report.