Communication Studies Assistant Professor Deion Hawkins writes for the academic news site The Conversation about the future of Black Twitter, particularly in the context of police brutality and racism, now that Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter is complete.
A world without Black Twitter is a world void of robust, rapid and authentic information sharing on police brutality within the Black community. As a result, it is my belief that the community will be systemically silenced and exposed to increased levels of police-related violence.
On Twitter, a hashtag is no longer just a name. Instead, it often blossoms into awareness campaigns that seek police reform. Hashtags are often the catalysts for mobilization, and this mobilization would be significantly slower in a world without Twitter.
Twitter is often used to document and upload videos of police brutality. For instance, the video of George Floyd’s death in police custody was first publicized on Twitter, and then mainstream news circulated the footage.
I like to think of Black Twitter as the fuel, while mainstream media are the wheels on the information highway.