Learning More About your Audiences: Communities of Color on Twitter

Content From: Jackie Nolan AIDS.gov Managing DirectorPublished: February 04, 20142 min read

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Twitter bird

Earlier this month we posted a blog report about African Americans and technology use. The data in the Pew report revealed that almost a quarter of African Americans who are online access Twitter, with 40% of 18-29 year old African American internet users on the site.

We often report on current trends and communication tools that leverage emerging technologies to reach diverse audiences. At HIV.gov we are always trying to learn more about how our audiences use social media so we can reach them with our messages and partner with influencers in the community. National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, Black Twitter is described as “...part cultural force, cudgel, entertainment and refuge. It is its own society within Twitter and, centered on the interests of young blacks online.” The Huffington Post recently published an articleExit Disclaimerhighlighting the top Black Twitter moments of 2013. This is one of many online communities of people coming together to voice their opinions and ideas on a diverse range of topics.

For the HIV community, as mentioned above, online communities are an opportunity to promote discussions on health and HIV. To get some insight how HIV is discussed in the "Black Twitter" community, we searched the hashtag #aidsinblackamericaExit Disclaimer and it yielded results dating back to July 2012 of a conversation on a PBS Frontline documentaryExit Disclaimer. These tweets include a collection of facts, questions, and opinions on not only the film, but also the larger issue of HIV in America. Many of those in the HIV community used Twitter as an opportunity to promote HIV testing and care information. Examples of tweets include links to Federal resources , people sharing their personal stories of living with HIV, and tweets of HIV statistics from the documentary.

We asked Meredith Clark, the Editor, North Raleigh News & Midtown Raleigh News and Roy H. Park Fellow/Ph.D. student at UNC Chapel Hill how Black Twitter promotes discussions on health and specifically HIV. She told us, “Exit Disclaimer.