News: LMC’s Andre Brock Works to Unravel the Complexities of #BlackTwitter

Andre Brock

Posted February 28, 2020

By Michael Pearson

About a decade ago, researchers noticed an interesting phenomenon: the share of black Twitter users was significantly higher than the percentage of black internet users overall.

While they are not the majority of Twitter users, black users are a vital voice on the social media platform, so much so that the community has earned an informal name, Black Twitter, and wide recognition as a powerful cultural voice.

Andre Brock, an associate professor in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication (LMC), has made a career of studying the intersection of race, culture, and technology. One of his major contributions to the field has been an analytic technique he calls critical technocultural discourse analysis (CTDA), which seeks to help explain the discursive and meaning-making capacities of technology.

His new book on the subject, Distributed Blackness, was released Feb. 25. We recently visited with him to discuss his research at LMC, a unit of the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts.

“One of the major claims of my book is that black people are natural practitioners of the digital, because many people don't think we are,” he said. “White racial ideology encourages the belief that only white folks use digital technology in appropriate ways. One result of this is that the default internet user is assumed to be white, male, middle-class, Christian, and heterosexual. Black Twitter’s expert digital practice is an emphatic counter to Westernized technical identities without being exoticized and deemed foreign like the Arab Spring. It is as American as sweet apple pie, collard greens, and fried chicken.”

To read more of his interview with Ivan Allen College Communications, read the story on the Ivan Allen College website.


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Michael Pearson