I think it was late last night I first noticed the Twitter hashtag #thingsblackgirlsdo started trending. When I initially saw the tweets getting tagged with this hashtag, it ran the gamut of black, female, racial negative stereotypes, mixed in with a few positive, encouraging and even funny tweets. I hoped that the latter would overpower the former as time went on or that the hashtag would quietly disappear.
The trending topic, however, didn’t disappear, as a matter of fact, at the time of writing this post, it reached #1 worldwide. This of course brought attention the hashtag to everyone’s attention (and and it’s associated tweets). This motivated @gangstarrgirl to blog about how, while these types of hashtags may not be inherently offensive, they do tend to spawn the tweeting a lot of offensive and negative stereotypes. I found the following point quite poignant:
In situations like this, I expect to laugh a little because I see myself in some of the jokes but this wasn’t the case. Sadly, several of the tweets are just inane, ignorant misconceptions and ironically most of the worst offenders are—judging by their avatars—black.
I found this poignant because the negativity and the source of many of the tweets in the hashtag, did nothing more than reinforce negative stereotypes. I would hope this wasn’t think case and I would encourage people to expand their ideas about black women beyond what they read on Twitter, but we know that some people actually use Twitter as a tool for researching race.
So what does one do now? How do you turn the tide from negative stereotypes to positivity and encouragement? How do you plant seeds of positivity about Black women in the eyes of the Twitter researcher?
Lions Gate, the producers of Tyler Perry’s “For Colored Girls”, movie took a step in that direction at around 1 PM PST. At that time, the following tweet was posted through the @lionsgaterise twitter account
First and foremost, this is a great use of social media to do real-time engaging advertising that will be seen by your target demographic. Additionally, not only did they participated in the hashtag in a way that contributes to the positive side of the discussion, they also made the tweet a “promoted tweet”, which means that anybody who clicks on the #thingsblackgirlsdo hashtag will see the above tweet at the top of the page. While the tweet does sound a bit commercial with the promo at the end and thereby slightly less genuine, I understand that sometimes that’s just the way it needs to be. In spite of this, when I saw the content of the tweet and that it was a promoted tweet, I was really impressed, both from a business/marketing point of view and a personal point of view. It shows how brands can take part in “branding” a worldwide conversation in a relevant fashion with a positive, uplifting messaging that may even help turn a negative of conversations into a positive one. (Even in those conversations that they did not initiate).
So, with that I was motivated to write this post and to contribute my own addition to the hashtag. And that is: “#thingsblackgirlsdo - Turn a negative into a positive”