For better or worse, social media has become the way many of us get our news these days. And Twitter is the perfect 140-character platform to accompany our bite-sized 24-hour news cycle. All types of things trend around the world on the social network, and you can count on #BlackTwitter to be among those most popular topics on any given day. But #BlackTwitter isn’t just one hashtag – it is community that drives many of the most popular conversations on the social network, from the frivolous (#RHOA and #LHHATL) to the revolutionary (#Blacklivesmatter and #HandsUpDontShoot.)
Among the top 30 #BlackTwitter moments of 2014, perennial standouts like #wcw and #BETAwards made the list, along with new topics like #RayRice and #YouAintBlackIf. And whether they were our most-loved or most-hated TV shows and movies, we tweeted about ‘Scandal’, ‘Being Mary Jane’, ‘Ride Along,’ and ‘Think Like a Man Too’ more often than any others. Throughout the year, there were a few other moments that had us talking as well.
Back in January, #BlackTwitter lamented what could have been with #ThisCouldBeUsButYouPlayin, which garnered over 250K tweets in a 24-hour period:
— Just A Lil DreadHead (@LilSwaggaBoy910) April 11, 2014
— Marcus Graham (@YaboySkeete) January 25, 2014
— Gooby (@iamgooby) January 25, 2014
We’ve probably all forgotten #GhettoJeopardy (perhaps for good reason), which grabbed almost 125K tweets in February:
— Trap Lord Shesus (@Godddessss_) February 17, 2014
— Cory Kahn (@DJKahnsworth) February 18, 2014
#GhettoJeopardy is trending right now.. I love Twitter
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) February 18, 2014
In March, we celebrated Lupita Nyong’o’s Oscar win, and her brother made a cameo in the most retweeted tweet of 2014:
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) March 3, 2014
Then in April, all of Twitter reacted to the news of former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s NBA ban with #BannedForLife. Over 1.3 million tweets were sent during the press conference where NBA commissioner Adam Silver made his remarks, with almost 40,000 tweets per minute in the moments directly after the announced ban:
Commissioner Silver showed great leadership in banning LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life.
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) April 29, 2014
Commissioner Silver….STRONG…way to take charge and protect our great league.
— DWade (@DwyaneWade) April 29, 2014
Way to go, Commissioner Silver! The NBA stands for everybody!
— SHAQ (@SHAQ) April 29, 2014
— Diddy (@iamdiddy) April 29, 2014
All hell broke loose in May, when that now-infamous video footage of Jay-Z, Beyoncé, and Solange in an elevator hit the internet and went viral. And of course, #BlackTwitter had all sorts of theories about #WhatJayZSaidToSolange, with over 210K mentions:
— Ghetto CNN (@GhettoCNNbrk) May 12, 2014
— Crissy✌️ (@CTriplett_012) May 12, 2014
— God’s Son (@myna_thots) May 12, 2014
When the horrific Boko Haram kidnappings claimed over 200 Nigerian girls, the entire world responded with #BringBackOurGirls:
— The First Lady (@FLOTUS) May 7, 2014
— Jada Pinkett Smith (@jadapsmith) May 7, 2014
Its time 2 #BringBackOurGirls & put a stop 2 violence! Get info on how U can help —> http://t.co/ys5uItaNMy
— Queen Latifah (@IAMQUEENLATIFAH) May 7, 2014
— Mary J. Blige (@maryjblige) May 7, 2014
In November, Kim Kardashian tried to #BreakTheInternet with her Paper magazine cover photo, and with over a half million tweets and counting…
Twitter’s reaction was…predicably mixed:
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) November 12, 2014
— Jim Rome (@jimrome) November 14, 2014
It’s not about the money. It’s about them likes on the Gram! #BreakTheInternet
— Charlamagne Tha God (@cthagod) November 15, 2014
But when Solange showed us how to really ‘break the internet,’ sisters let out a collective “Yasssss” heard all across social media. Her wedding pictures, released exclusively to Vogue, got close to 100K tweets in just one day:
— Janet Mock (@janetmock) November 17, 2014
— $$$$cleopatra$$$$ (@pyramidssss) November 17, 2014
More than anything else though, the events of #Ferguson, Missouri and Staten Island, New York will forever dominate what happened on #BlackTwitter this year. When unarmed teenager Michael Brown was shot and killed in Ferguson and subsequently portrayed as a violent criminal after his death, #BlackTwitter wondered aloud how we might be perceived in the same situation with #ifTheyGunnedMeDown, which closed in on 300K tweets:
— isarB acuL (@King_Ghidorah5) August 11, 2014
— THE Rhévan Cierra (@Ladyy_Rhe) August 13, 2014
— Rell from Statefarm (@Heartbreak_Rell) August 10, 2014
— Bruce Leroy (@UnoDos_TRE) August 10, 2014
Worldwide, #BlackLivesMatter and #iCantBreathe trended during the days when two separate grand juries failed to indict officers Darren Wilson for the shooting death of #MikeBrown, or Daniel Pantaleo for the strangulation death of #EricGarner by chokehold. This map shows the flow of the global conversation over time:
The return of singer D’Angelo, who just released his first album in 14 years, lifted the spirits of Black folks across the world. #BlackMessiah averaged over 10K tweets per day in the five days following its release on December 15th:
— 9th Wonder (@9thWonderMusic) December 15, 2014
— Idris Elba (@idriselba) December 15, 2014
one thing i do love about #blackmessiah: it doesn’t sound too digital. still got that warmth.
— Bomani Jones (@bomani_jones) December 15, 2014
— solange knowles (@solangeknowles) December 15, 2014
Thank you to our friends at Twitter for the info. We’re looking forward to seeing what’s trending in 2015!
Follow Tech-Life Expert Stephanie Humphrey on Twitter.