What can Tweets tell us about this historic moment?

The #BlackLivesMatter conversation isn’t new. Since 2013, we’ve seen activism on and off Twitter. Unfortunately, violence and systemic racism toward Black people persist. But this moment feels bigger; it feels more like progress. And the talk on Twitter can help us understand why.

An undeniable surge

Since a series of horrific events spurred nationwide protests, there have been 206 Tweets per second about Black Lives Matter and its subtopics1 in the US.2 This made up 17% of all conversation on Twitter. That’s upward of 390M Tweets in all — nearly 3.8x any previous peak.

Infographic 390M Tweets about Black Lives Matter since 5/25

Allies are stepping up

The core of the #BlackLivesMatter conversation continues to be police and politics. But allyship is also playing a strong role. We’re seeing diverse groups of people Tweeting supportive hashtags like #AmplifyMelanatedVoices, a movement to lift up voices from the Black community.

Spreading the word

For Tweets about Black Lives Matter, the engagement is as high as the total conversation volume. In fact, since this wave of protests began in late May, nearly one-fifth of all replies, quotes, and Retweets on Twitter in the US are about BLM.

With people preferring to share and react to content instead of creating their own, this conversation is definitely finding its focus.

Infographic showing total Retweets, quotes and replies on US Twitter

Hope persists

This is an emotionally charged conversation. So it’s not surprising that feelings of disgust and anger are gradually giving way to sadness. But through it all, there’s a persistent bright spot: joy.

Through their Tweets, people are finding joy in peaceful protests, energized young people, and a sense of changing the world. This tiny bit of hope might just be a sign that real progress is finally underway.

Infographic showing the percentage of emotions expressed in #BLM Tweets

We’ll continue to learn more from the talk on Twitter. To receive these insights and more right in your inbox, subscribe here.

Daniella Bianchi (‎@bianchidani) is the US research manager for the Audience Insights team at Twitter. In her role, Daniella is responsible for educating and inspiring brands about Twitter's audience through insights.

Footnotes & sources:
1. Subtopics include conversations about police interaction, protests, and racial equality
2. Source: Twitter Internal Data, US Only. Time Period: 5/25/20–6/10/20. Percentage of #BlackLivesMatter Tweets containing various topics.

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