SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – Just hours after it was announced that unidentified juror B37 from the George Zimmerman trial had a book deal her agent dropped her, following a huge backlash on a sub-culture of Twitter known as ‘Black Twitter.’
Black Twitter is a phenomenon that can be described as cultural buzz feed (search #BlackBuzzFeed) on Twitter referencing race, pop culture, current events or any other issues that interest or affect the black community.
“Black Twitter is simply responsible for the story of Trayvon Martin taking off the way it did,” said writer Maya Francis. “There was no mainstream media outlet that had the story before Black Twitter had the story.”
While blacks make up barely 10 per cent of the US population, they make up 25 percent of Twitter users.
“There’s also an overrepresentation on Twitter of people for whom mobile is their primary way of accessing the Internet,” according to social media specialist Kimberly Ellis, who is writing a book on the Black Twitter effect.
When word got out that the Zimmerman juror had a book deal, the reaction on Black Twitter was fierce and relentless. Tweets targeted the juror’s agent, Sharlene Martin.
Soon after the avalanche of tweets criticizing the book deal, Martin announced she was no longer representing the juror, and the juror herself announced she wouldn’t write the book after all.
“Juror B37 then turned around and said she decided against it, but when you watch the timeline, you see how it unfolded. That’s not the case,” said Ellis.
Black Twitter is also credited for igniting the firestorm surrounding food industry celebrity Paula Deen after she admitted in a deposition to using the n-word.
Marcus Osborne, who comments on social media, among other things, on Alice @97.3 radio, is not convinced Black Twitter is the force some believe. “Because of the fire involved in (the Zimmerman) case, it would have gone to court anyway. Twitter or no Twitter.”
But there is no doubt blacks are using Twitter in numbers not seen by other ethnic groups and that in itself is a powerful tool.
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