Have you ever wondered why there is so many white girls posting a picture of their Starbucks drink? According to S. Craig Watkins’ article Understanding the Mobile Lives of Black and Latino Youth, 75% of teens are using cell phones, 78% are white teens, 75% are black teens and 68% are Hispanic teens. Class also factors into how much is using cell phones. Only 59% with an income of less than $30,000 a year, while 87% uses cell phones with an income of $75,000+.
To an extent, we are divided amongst race and class in terms of income, privileges, etc. But are we also divided online as well?
The reason for such difference among race and class is because some can’t simply afford it. These people can’t experience the broadband connection and social media that it offers. For the percentage that does, each race seem to use these apps quite differently from each other, not by what we do, but how we utilize it as.
On Twitter, hashtags are a huge part of the application and it in fact started the way we use it today. It’s used to categorize their tweets, and people can search posts that include that hashtag. And a lot of people contribute to hashtags that are trending, or popular. From an article by Farhad Manjoo titled How Black People Use Twitter, he mentions that black people create these most of these popular hashtags. They can be anything, straight from his article, examples like, #ilaugheverytime and #annoyingquestion end up trending at least in their area. And non-black users are often confused by these sometimes and has “sparked lots of sometimes uncomfortable questions about “how black people use Twitter.” (Manjoo) It appears that we question each other’s use in how we use social media.
Not only does it seem like that but the way slander can be used online is more alive than it is in public. People have that shield of the computer screen to be able to say whatever they want. Terrorist attacks have recently happened in France and Al-Qaeda has claimed responsible. After that has happened, a hashtag appeared that quickly started trending labeled #KillAllMuslims. These people were directly blaming all muslims in the terrorist attacks. And if that wasn’t violent enough, three muslims were shot and killed by their neighbor, with religion playing a role and heavy speculations on the events in France as well.
So the question pops back up, are we really divided online? If you asked me, I’d say that every person has their own way of utilizing the internet, but in terms of racism and slander, it still exists and it’s probably bigger now thanks to the Internet.