An Elite White Geezer Adds More Whitewashing

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So, I am with you as a researcher and a great writer. And I see your point. Andrew was only speaking about his personal experience, that’s all he’s capable of doing. He’s not a researcher or a nationally recognized author. He’s a kid, a white kid, with a perspective from that demographic. And yes, he’s in college. Awesome.

But you seem to have missed some of his declarations, or perhaps, biased by your broader research, and studied perspective, you seem to have bent some of what Andrew was writing to fit your argument.

The part that seemed way off base, in adding your perspective to Andrew’s was when you went after “his” take on white Twitter. Here’s what you said, “The world of Twitter is many things and what journalists and tech elites see from Twitter is not even remotely similar to what many of the teens that I study see, especially black and brown urban youth.”

See, to me, when I read Andrew’s take on Twitter he was talking about his peer group, the people he hung out with, that simply didn’t get it. Here’s what he said, “There is always a core group at every school that uses it very religiously to tweet and another group that uses it to simply watch or retweet, but besides that many don’t use it.”

He even goes further to try and categorize his peer group’s three types of Twitter users. “There are then three main groups of Twitter users: the ones who use it to complain/express themselves, the ones who tweet with the assumption that their prospective employer will eventually see whatever they are saying, and the ones who simply look at other Tweets and do the occasional RT.”

Do you see any mention of activism or hashtags for aligning political or racial identities? Nope. His group, the people he knows, are more concerned that their comments and tweets could follow them around later, like Facebook, and eventually be seen by potential employers.

So his group favors Snapchat (closed broadcasts) and Instagram. More about connecting with friends and people nearby. So, Andrew is more career-oriented, he’s in college, and he’s not all that aware of the “black and brown urban youth.” But him trying to write about that would be quite odd, don’t you think? Your bringing up the question is fine, but judging his writing in those terms seems more like gaining steam for your research and point of view.

Perhaps you were merely firing a shot over the transom of the tech pundits who have signed on to Andrew’s perspective as the “voice of the teens.” I get that, but his perspective has nothing to do with what you seemed to have taken offense about. Like a good writer, he’s sticking to what he knows about. That’s all it is. A teen’s perspective on his use and his white privileged, college-bound, friend’s use of social media. Oh, and I’ve written a book about it too, but only about Twitter. (See: The Twitter Way: Book One)

John McElhenney — let’s connect online
@jmacofearth & Facebook & LinkedIn & The Whole Parent

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