Twitter more racially diverse than rest of Web (and, I’m guessing, way more so than this blog)


This, from the WSJ, sort of surprised me:

For most of its rather short life, Twitter rarely mentioned that its user base is more racially diverse than U.S. Internet users as a whole. Now, as a newly minted public company needing to generate revenue, it is moving to capitalize on its demographics.

In November, Twitter hired marketing veteran Nuria Santamaria to a new position as multicultural strategist, leading its effort to target black, Hispanic and Asian-American users.

Together, those groups account for 41% of Twitter’s 54 million U.S. users, compared with 34% of the users of rival Facebook and 33% of all U.S. Internet users, according to Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project….

I don’t know why. Maybe it’s racist of me to have assumed that Twitter was way white. I think it probably had something to do with it being a geeky medium, and I think of geeks as white, the fictional Rajesh Koothrappali notwithstanding.

Facebook, as it turns out, is every bit as white bread as I thought it was. Twitter, less so.

These are not vast differences, but it seems meaningful that the Twitterverse is 50 percent blacker than the U.S. population as a whole. I don’t know what it means, but it seems it means something.

Lest you throw stones at me for being taken by surprise, I’ll have you know that many of my friends/followers/contacts are non-white. Although…

And I’ve sort of wondered about this…

I find myself associating more with nonwhite friends and acquaintances in real life than in the Twitterverse, or elsewhere on the Web. Look at my church (especially the Mass I attend, which is in Spanish), or the membership of the Capital City Club, etc.

In fact, and I hope I’m not insulting anyone here, I kinda think of most of y’all as white. Based on the regulars I actually have met — Kathryn, Doug, Silence, Bryan, Karen, Phillip, Bud, Mark, KP, etc. — that seems overwhelmingly the case. Of course, that’s totally anecdotal, but I tend to pick up on a pretty white vibe in most of our conversations.

This blog seems to lack crossover appeal. Unlike Twitter. I knew Twitter was cool, but I didn’t realize it could be quantified to this extent….

27 thoughts on “Twitter more racially diverse than rest of Web (and, I’m guessing, way more so than this blog)

  1. Norm Ivey

    Could it be related to mobile devices? Both Instagram and Twitter strike me as mobile-device tools, while Facebook and LinkIn seem more like PC-based tools. Or maybe it’s generational somehow?

    1. Brad Warthen Post author


      And everyone, note that Norm is yet another white guy. See what I mean?

      Not Norm’s fault, of course. I’m just saying that this place is really, really white. Whatever that means. Maybe it’s because of me and the content I generate; I don’t know…

      1. susanincola

        Yeah, this is about the whitest place I hang out. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that….) Well, except for my parents’ church in Irmo, but that’s not their fault — they’re Presbyterians, after all, so they can’t help it. They’re even too white for some white people.

  2. Silence

    Aren’t like 98% of Twitter users actually bots? I think there’s actually only about 17 people who actually use Twitter…

      1. Silence

        It’s not hard to create a plausible back story and a realistic identity. My driver’s license says that I’m “McLovin” a 25 year old Hawaiian organ donor…

        1. Bryan Caskey

          Let’s not lose our heads. It’s… it’s a fine ID; it’ll… it’s gonna work. It’s passable, okay? This isn’t terrible. I mean, it’s up to you, Fogell. This guy is either gonna think ‘Here’s another kid with a fake ID’ or ‘Here’s McLovin, a 25 year-old Hawaiian organ donor’. Okay? So what’s it gonna be?

  3. Silence

    Nothing on Columbia MLK Day speaker and NC NAACP President Rev. William Barber II calling US Senator Tim Scott a ventriloquist’s dummy?

      1. Silence

        I’m just having fun picturing Nikki Haley and Tim Scott as Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy…

      2. Brad Warthen Post author

        One expects a certain amount of bombast at NAACP events.

        Uh-oh, did I sound like an insensitive white guy then? Well, then, you’re just tone deaf. What I sounded like was an Urban League loyalist.

        There’s a history of bad blood between the two organizations, related to MLK Day.

        The first King Day at the Dome, in 2000 (at least, it’s the first one I remember), was largely organized by the Urban League. That was the really, truly, huge one — some 60,000 strong, with people not only packed on the lawn, but packed so densely you could hardly move through the crowd across Gervais Street, and northwards along Main Street.

        That was the big “Bring Down the Flag” rally — and indeed, that very year, it came down from the dome (and right into everyone’s faces, of course).

        Well, in the Urban League view, the NAACP hijacked the event. They seized the initiative the day of by surrounding the stage with people in windbreakers with “NAACP” in huge letters on them, branding the event for observers as an NAACP thing.

        Then, starting the following year, the NAACP aggressively marketed the annual event as their own, claiming credit for the big one in 2000.

        This caused a lot of bitterness among folk in the civil-rights community who did not self-identify as huge NAACP fans…

        1. Mark Stewart

          Brad’s version explains why the event has lost it’s mojo and Silence’s how counter-productive those agitators have become.

          They have a good, righteous cause; they needn’t act like fourth rate imbeciles. Sounds like a microphone intervention is in order.

          1. Kathryn Fenner

            The speech as reported had many good points.

            I find that mainline Protestant white girl me is turned off by the preachifying that energizes many in the black community. Different strokes…

  4. susanincola

    I went to the mlk event at mlk park in five points. Jean Toal spoke and a couple of high school choirs sang and it was great. Zero bombast. Almost no white people except politicians and those who were a part of the program, though.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      That sounds nice. Maybe I should check that out next year. Only the Urban League and NAACP things have been on my radar screen.

      The King Day at the Dome in 2000 was a pretty amazing, historic event. Since then, they’ve all been rather anticlimactic.

      The one in 2008, with all the Democratic presidential candidates, was fairly interesting. And really, really cold. Here’s my post from that day, with bad video (bad light, too far away, old camera) of each of the three candidates speaking. That was a big day for us, because Obama had come in to meet with us in the editorial board room very early that morning. It was kind of weird — since it was a holiday (and earlier than people would have been in even on a normal day) — there was just those of us who had come in for the meeting, and Obama’s entourage, including Secret Service, rattling around an empty building. After our interview, Obama borrowed one of our men’s rooms to put on some long johns that he had sent someone to buy (where they went that time on a holiday, I don’t know). I know he was glad to have them sitting in the shade on the cold State House steps waiting to speak. It was pretty bitter.

      After that meeting, most folks went home. Mike and I and others on the board planned our endorsement editorial and column (this was already a day later than we had planned to run our endorsement; we had waited for Obama; Hillary Clinton had declined to meet with us), I went to the thing at the State House, then went back to the office to blog about it and work on my column. The column and the endorsement editorial ran the next day online, and the day after that in the paper. Oh, and I had to record a video explaining our endorsement, for online (no longer available, apparently). That’s one of the innovations I was introducing that year, along with the intense blogging (I was the only active blogger at the paper), just chugging right along pulling the newspaper behind me, right up until the day I got canned. Not that I’m bitter or anything.

      Maybe the King Day at the Dome thing will be that interesting again in 2016. We’ll see.

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