At any point throughout the day, Twitter lists the ten most popular “topics” being discussed on its micro-blogging service. As soon as they rolled out this feature, I opted to see a more specific list of what was popular in Washington, D.C. vs. a world-wide compilation of hot topics.
This afternoon, I noticed that “African Americans” was trending. Initially, all the tweets I read regarding that topic had to do with yesterday’s election, specifically a rumor that only 4.7% of African Americans voted. There was no source for the statistic and it was on fire, showing up in hundreds of tweets, every minute. There was also some consternation being expressed at the lack of African Americans in the Senate. I chose to focus on the former issue, and collected some tweets:
According to this Washington Post article, the number was 10%, not 4.7%:
There was a slight drop in support from another strongly pro-Obama group: black voters, who made up 13 percent of the electorate in 2008 compared with 10 percent in 2010.
Another interesting fact to keep in mind: a quarter of all Twitter users are African American, which is almost double the percentage of Americans who are black. While it’s always good to be self-aware and open to self-critique, it’s a shame that such a flawed, flat-out wrong statistic gained traction on a medium that is so popular with young people of color, many of whom believed the lie about not voting– and all it implied.
About the author
DCentric was created to examine the ways race and class interact in Washington, D.C., a city with a vibrant mix of cultures and neighborhoods. Your guides to the changing district are reporters Anna John and Elahe Izadi. View all posts by Anna →
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