#BlackLivesMatter Hashtag Has Helped Racial Discourse And Is More Useful Than #AllLivesMatter
A new study from Pew Research Center says that the discourse created by hashtags like #BlackLivesMatter have actually been successful in forcing the nation to reckon with race-related issues.
Released yesterday (August 15), “Social Media Conversations About Race” examines how “hashtag activism” impacts the social landscape—and how that impact differs among Black and White social media users. To do this, researchers combined a phone survey of 3,769 adults with a massive analysis of tweets.
A look at publicly available tweets posted between January 1, 2015 and March 31, 2016 uncovered around 995 million tweets about race—that’s an average of 2.1 million per day. With a total of 500 million tweets per day, race accounted for 0.04 percent of all posts. Six in ten of those were connected to news events of the day, like the massacre at Mother Emanuel.
Researchers also conducted a case study on the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag. They found that it was used about 12 million times from July 12, 2013, to March 31, 2016. About 40 percent of the time, it was used in solidarity with the movement that spawned from the use of the hashtag. In 11 percent of appearances, it was being used negatively. But that changed after Alton Sterling and Philando Castile were killed by police officers from Baton Rouge and St. Anthony (Minn.), respectively, which was closely followed by the shooting deaths of five police officers in Dallas.