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Black people better at Twitter, according to Berkeley study

In Human Interest, Technology on April 27, 2011 at 10:42 am

A recent study out of Berkeley has found that Americans of African descent are better than their lighter-skinned compatriots when it comes to tweeting.

“Not just better,” said Ashley Wessley, a graduate student and the study’s author, “but clearly better.”

Spike Lee was noted as an exception in the study, his Twitter feed described as 'SMS diarrhea.'

The study followed Twitter’s trending topics for several months, collecting data from millions of tweets. Trending hashtags examined by the study include #idontunderstandwhy, #younotfromdetroit, #notsexy, #isturnedonby, #iwasthekid, #whenyourblack, #isbetterthan, #blackpeoplemovies, #imthetype, #iseewhyyoumad and #deletemynumberif.

“After I collected the data, I applied the NBA principle and I arrived at my conclusion,” said Wessley. Established in 1995 by Harvard sociologists, the NBA principle states that if it seems overwhelmingly obvious that one race is better at something, they probably are.

“There’s almost always at least two trending topics that are 90% black people,” said Wessley. “No other race has that.”

Wessley attributes the gap in tweets to poor tweeting habits from other races, particularly whites and Asians. “Fully 86% of tweets from white people amounted to different versions of ‘Hey, I’m on a plane!’ and Asians aren’t nearly offensive enough in their tweets to be interesting to readers,” she said.

That offensiveness might be the key to Twitter equality.

“Be less politically correct,” said Wessley. “It’s okay to tweet bad stuff. Your life doesn’t have to be presented as perfect. It’s just Twitter and nobody really gives a shit anyway.”

Wessley expressed relief at the completion of her study, a major project in her final semester.

“I’m super relieved,” she said. “If I had found white people were better, I never would have been able to publish.”