The phrase “Black Twitter” has been added to the national vocabulary, as recent reports from Pew Research indicate that 1 in 3 Blacks use popular social networking service Twitter. From politicians to celebrities, African Americans are making their mark through social media, garnering worldwide attention and creating a platform for discussion, thought, and activism:
Even though our president may not have the most followers on Twitter, his presence is most certainly known. After winning reelection, his sweet, solemn photo of he and First Lady Michelle Obama became the most retweeted photo on the Internet. The President often takes to Twitter to state his position and respond to current events. Many political analysts believe social media played a key role in his reelection campaign.
As a rather late bloomer on Twitter, Michelle Obama joined the service yet again in 2013 as @FLOTUS (First Lady of the United States). As one of the most high profile personalities on Twitter, Obama is using her Twitter account to give users an inside look into The White House, as well as motivate citizens around her @LETSMOVE fitness and nutrition campaign.
Newark mayor Cory Booker might just be the first social media politician. Booker has actively used his Twitter account to engage his constituents, responding to citizen needs such as pothole repair and even shoveling a citizen’s driveway after a Twitter request. With a looming Senate bid on the horizon (announced via Twitter, of course) the mayor is creating a template for how politicians should embrace social media.
Although The Queen of Talk has built her media empire on the TV screen, the media mogul has proven that she can make waves on social media as well. With over 14 million followers, @oprah has become one of the most followed accounts on Twitter, and has not minced words when responding to her detractors.
In recent years, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has become a cult following online. Known to many science nerds, Tyson joined Twitter at the beginning of 2012 and has amassed almost 1 million followers. While Tyson’s take on funding for NASA and increasing science studies in schools is resonating with the general public, many are calling him the first “black nerd celebrity.”
The rapper-turned-techie was not only one of the first celebrities on Twitter; Hammer was also one of the first investors in the platform. The “2 Legit 2 Quit” MC has rebranded himself as a tech and social media guru. He’s acquired over 3 million followers despite being out of the spotlight for over 20 years.
Sure, Kanye West may tweet once in a blue moon, but when he does it makes international headlines. Even when he follows someone (as was the case with UK fan Stephen Holmes) they become an instant celebrity. West has become one of the most visible celebrities on Twitter, even if he says nothing at all.
Although Douglas is still building her Twitter fan base, the 17-year-old gymnast has most certainly become a household name thanks to her gold-medal win at the London Olympics. She uses her account to give fans an inside look at her newfound fame, as well as engaging, replying to, and retweeting fans.
For better or worse the pop star has become a sensation on Twitter. With her scandalous photos, beefs with other celebs and general bad girl behavior, her 140 character missives can cause international press fervor. Tweets and photos surrounding her relationship with Chris Brown have most certainly made her a hot commodity online, sparking discussions about domestic violence and sexual culture.
Diddy hasn’t picked up a mic in a while, but he has become an active influencer on Twitter. The industry mogul has amassed over 9 million followers on the platform. Diddy has become influential in the branding world, using the social site to push fans towards his Ciroc Vodka and AquaHydrate water.