How (Black) Twitter Shifted Celebrity Culture

Diane Shaibu

It’s no secret that Twitter runs our world today. Amongst the most popular social media apps available, Twitter lays claim over the top 4 spot (Common Sense). PR executives and Marketing Agents of the like spend months rattling their brains on how to get ahold of successful tweeting. We’ve seen celebrities plummet to their downfall via “unpopular” Twitter opinions. The advantage of this micro-blogging site is that everyone that uses the app becomes much more transparent to the public, in which ‘call-out’ culture has pushed the notion that users will no longer take a celebrity’s BS.

When diving into the world of Twitter, it is important to understand the existing environment. Environmentalism in media pinpoints a “relatively stable notion of human culture (Fuller)”, thus the environment of Twitter is quite common with your average social media site. While Twitter is an all-inclusive app, there are different ‘cliques’ that Twitter users fall into. For example, there’s Stan Twitter, in which fans practice an unhealthy Twitter adoration of their favorite celebrities. Conservative/Tea Party/Egg Avi Twitter in which you would find your average, middle-aged Republican.


And finally, this leads to Black Twitter, in which many Black users categorize themselves into. This is a media ecology formed on the cusps of self-identity, oppression, expression, and community commonality. Black Twitter is fueled by Black (mostly African-American) cultures, in which topics and events are given a certain hilarious spin. Members of Black Twitter work to create memes, jokes, and critiques of all things pop-culture.


There are subsets of this community, including the woke/”shea butter” side of Black Twitter. While these are all jokes, this subset of Black Twitter has displayed extreme power over Internet culture. As Bennett would describe affect, the transferred energy, or influence, from “woke” Twitter has shifted the culture of entertainment and celebrity reactions from consumers. (It is also important to note how often major companies use intellectual property from Black Twitter for digital advertisements.)

Some may call it cyber-bullying, some may call it sensitive, but we must note the impact that Twitter has on our culture today. Users are exploring heavy topics such as racism, homophobia, transphobia, misogyny (and misogynoir), masculinity, etc. in under 140-characters. These topics are huge and often hard to discuss over a screen, but Twitter has made it work. The general population is growing informed and realizing how society can become better. Thus, celebrities that want to remain popular must unravel the layers of issues and keep up with the times, in order to maintain their audience.



Works Cited


Bennett, Jane. “Preface.” Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things. Durham: Duke UP, 2010. Print.


Fuller, Matthew, and Roger Malina F. “Introduction: Media Ecologies.” Media Ecologies: Materialist Energies in Art and       Technoculture. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2005. Print.


Common Sense.




~ by des448 on September 19, 2016.

3 Responses to “How (Black) Twitter Shifted Celebrity Culture”

  1. Yes! I absolutely love this post (overall fav) for the artful way you’ve tied in how critical, powerful, and important Twitter commentary from POC about pop-culture and mainstream media has become and showed how truly it fits in as a media ecology. It’s something that I recognize but never really identified as an ecology. Your blog post made me think more of the social and cultural implications Twitter now contributes to our society at-large, which pulls together all these building block of matter (even virtual matter) and gives a greater context. Like mentioned in Bennett’s text, mood towards the change affects how the change happens, and I think this specific Twitter community is driving change.

    – Yangsin

  2. Diane, I really thought that your blog post had the best style. I really appreciated the way you used GIFs to to support your writing. I think the particular media ecology you’ve chosen to work on this semester is really interesting due to the fact that you’re examining a digital space that, despite not being tangible, has consequences in the physical world. I definitely agree that the appropriating of ideas and content created by minority groups, and the failure to give credit or authorship when remediating it to fit a completely different ideology is very troubling.


  3. Most engaging, I love how you pointed out all the communities that exist within Twitter and are possible because of twitter, and I found it super insightful how you mentioned that Twitter is bringing to light heavy, serious topics and social issues. Twitter, which was originally started out as just a platform for sharing quirky, short personal statements has turned into a platform where social movements can erupt.

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