Tweets, tweeps, and signifyin': Communication and cultural performance on "black twitter"

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

75 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article explores the use of the Black American cultural tradition of "signifyin'" as a means of performing racial identity online. In the United States, race is deeply tied to corporeal signifiers. But, in social media, the body can be obscured or even imitated (e.g., by a deceptive avatar). Without reliable corporeal signifiers of racial difference readily apparent, Black users often perform their identities through displays of cultural competence and knowledge. The linguistic practice of "signifyin'," which deploys figurative language, indirectness, doubleness, and wordplay as a means of conveying multiple layers of meaning, serves as a powerful resource for the performance of Black cultural identity on Twitter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-237
Number of pages15
JournalTelevision and New Media
Volume15
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

twitter
communication
cultural identity
social media
performance
linguistics
language
resources
Cultural Competence
Cultural Knowledge
Cultural Identity
Layer
Racial Identity
Racial Differences
Avatar
Communication
Indirectness
Figurative Language
Resources
Cultural Tradition

Keywords

  • Black American culture
  • digital media
  • race
  • social media
  • Twitter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Cultural Studies

Cite this

Tweets, tweeps, and signifyin' : Communication and cultural performance on "black twitter". / Florini, Sarah.

In: Television and New Media, Vol. 15, No. 3, 03.2014, p. 223-237.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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