Why the History of Black Twitter Needed to Be Told


If you’ve been on Twitter, then you’ve been on Black Twitter. No other subsection of social media has produced ideas and movements as influential or as dynamic as those that have come from Black voices on Twitter. In the early days, it existed as a space where Black people could connect, bat around some jokes, and share their experiences. Over time, Twitter’s Black community grew to become a driving force of real-world social change. It catalyzed culture and led to important movements like #OscarsSoWhite, #MeToo and, of course, Black Lives Matter.

This week on Gadget Lab, WIRED senior writer Jason Parham joins us to talk about his three-part oral history called “A People’s History of Black Twitter,” what it means to be Black online, and how Black Twitter has changed society.

Show Notes

Read Jason’s oral history of Black Twitter (Part I, Part II, Part III). Also read his September 2020 cover story about TikTok and the evolution of digital blackface.

Recommendations

Jason recommends the show Jett on Cinemax. Lauren recommends the July 28 episode of the Daily podcast, The Saga of Congress’s Jan. 6 Investigation. Mike recommends The Summer of Soul on Hulu.

Jason Parham can be found on Twitter @nonlinearnotes. Lauren Goode is @LaurenGoode. Michael Calore is @snackfight. Bling the main hotline at @GadgetLab. The show is produced by Boone Ashworth (@booneashworth). Our theme music is by Solar Keys.

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How to Listen

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