Me? I love tha twitter. For those of you using it to get the latest news and info: you can follow our blog posts at @jjpolitics and my thought stream direct at @ch3ryl. For those who ain’t — whatchu waitin’ for? Twitter is apparently a place we now dominate, which I can attest to given the number of black followers who tweet and re-tweet me regularly (plus all the brothers and sisters I’m following).

Here’s the deets – it’s more proof we’re digital-savvy as a people and the digital divide is closing fast. In fact Pew Internet found in a study last year that when you factor in mobile internet access, there is no digital divide and in fact, minorities (depending on the circumstances) are more likely than whites to be online:

The report found that nearly half of all African-Americans and English-speaking Hispanics (the study did not include a Spanish-language option) were using mobile phones or other hand-held devices to surf the Web and send e-mail messages. By comparison, just 28 percent of white Americans reported ever going online using a mobile device.

Not only are African-Americans the most active users of mobile Internet, they are also the fastest growing group to adopt the technology: the percentage of African-Americans using mobile phones or another type of connected gadget to share e-mail, exchange instant messages and access the Internet for information on an average day has more than doubled since late 2007, jumping to 29 percent, from 12 percent.

Twitter is a mobile-driven phenom so of course it makes sense that we’re leading in that environment. Dig (via AOL Black Voices):

The Business Insider has delved deeply into a study about Twitter usage and uncovered the startling fact that African Americans make up a whopping 25 percent of all Twitter users — even though we are only 12 percent of the population. Business Insider speculates the reason that black Americans are such heavy Twitter users are as follows:

-Black people (and Hispanics) are much more likely to access the Internet from mobile devices. Twitter is well-suited to mobile use, and its users are more engaged with the mobile Internet than the general population by a wide margin.
-More black than white celebrities are active Twitter users: Shaquille O’Neal, Oprah, 50 Cent, and P. Diddy are all among the most followed accounts on Twitter. That’s great publicity for Twitter and could be helping it become more mainstream among black people.
-The median age for black Americans (according to the 2000 census) is 30 years old, a full seven years younger than for white Americans. Black people therefore make up a relatively higher percentage of the population within the most relevant age groups —
Twitter is most popular amongst 25-34 year-olds.

Those are all pretty interesting insights, but I think Business Insider is missing out on the very obvious fact that blacks and Latinos often prefer to stay connected with the kind of immediacy that Twitter allows. Our culture is very much one of talking and direct confrontation, so Twitter naturally flows well with the way we communicate — on the go, shouting out to people, and saying “hi,” even if virtually, to everyone we meet. Twitter is almost like a digital barber shop or hair salon where you can share insights with everyone you know and love at once. Of course black folks love it!

It will be interesting to see if African American business people and politicians will be able to take advantage of what could prove to be a lucrative, condensed audience of young blacks in the coming years. Only time will tell, but this is an interesting find that our community should take advantage of.

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