Indeed, such a loss would be immeasurable. “Black Twitter has shown the rise of blackness, and the denial of respect,” says Sarah J. Jackson, a professor of communication at the University of Pennsylvania and co-author of #.Hashtag Activism. “It’s shown what a healthy community can look like, from invitations and invitations to community engagement, from things that make you uncomfortable to places that inspire you.”
Denver Sean is an editor at the gossip website Love B. Scott. He joined Twitter in 2009 when Black Twitter took off and felt like it was the first platform to give black people a full voice. “There was no one who could keep or stop the thoughts of the black people,” he says. “I’m just taking the time of Black’s mind. Which is good – most of the time.”
So, if the time comes and Black Twitter has to close shop, can it be replicated on another social media site?
“Probably not,” says Brock. “Mastodon is closed. Discord is a fixed term. TikTok is very busy. There is nothing else that takes the form of Twitter.” He says that Instagram is the most controversial because “it has seen the gradual emergence of Black Twitter over the last five years. It’s unsatisfying, but it has the basic information of Black Instagram that will suffice for now. “
I should note that the actual end of Twitter is a part of online life. Digital archives die, and new ones are built later. This has been true for as long as black users have been on the Internet, from the rise and fall of Melanet in the late 1990s to BlackPlanet and MySpace. Migration is constant.
One alternative that has come up for discussion among Black Twitter members, albeit for a short time, is Somewhere Good, an audio platform that rivals Clubhouse but focuses on inclusive communities. Unlike Twitter, however, which relies on audio content, it bills itself as “an app that feels like food and like feedback.”
Regardless of where they go, Black Twitter will be very difficult to replicate. “The content on places like Mastodon and TikTok, which are very different, are very fragmented to create the feeling of a public forum,” says Jackson. “It requires a learning curve that many reject, it is systematically designed to limit content, and it is difficult. I hope that more people will trust Instagram more, but it will never be the same.”
What about a social network without a public domain? Sean says that change has already happened, mentioning how it has lost the appeal of his previous days when everything seemed natural and users didn’t try to create viruses. “Black Twitter today is not the black Twitter of a few years ago,” he says. “Anything that happens on any new platform shows that, but not Black Twitter.”