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Efforts on to decipher 'Black Twitter' phenomenon

New York: Researchers at the University of Southern California are aiming to study "Black Twitter" to figure out what it means for people to form "neighbourhoods" online.

The project, reportedly led by Daynae Chatman from the Annenberg School for Communication, is working toward an understanding of a highly active sub-community of Twitter users often self-identified as "Black Twitter".

The term "Black Twitter" was first used in 2010 by The Root, an English-language online magazine representing the African-American culture.

The University of Southern California is now conducting what it calls its "Black Twitter Project" to understand the phenomena.

According to the study's website, "This case study throws up a tricky classification problem: not everyone who identifies as black is a part of Black Twitter, nor does everyone participating in Black Twitter identify as black..."

"The data we are collecting will allow us to map specific user connections, explore how information is spread and by whom, and identify the types of communication practices that are unique to Black Twitter," it read.

"As part of this research, we are engaged in evaluating and highlighting both the immediate and long-term social implications of these online interactions," it added.

"The project is devised by me and contributes to my dissertation. There are others involved: my faculty sponsor, Professor Francois Bar, and two other doctoral students, Kevin Driscoll and Alex Leavitt, along with many other undergraduate and masters students who have participated in various ways," Chatman wrote on his university research page.

The move has brought criticism too from the "Black Twitter" community, the website madamenoire.com reported.

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