(dis)Info Studies: André Brock, Jr. on Why People Do What They Do on the Internet
The Black internet has a long history. It has multiple points of origin, as Charlton McIlwain has documented—from Afronet, a BBS network for Black users, to NetNoir, an AOL-based portal “devoted to Afrocentric material,” both of which launched in the mid-1990s. Today, the Black internet has entered the platform era, distributing its riches across Twitter and Instagram and YouTube.
What would it mean to take the Black internet seriously? What would it mean to see Black digital practices (in all their diversity) not in pathological terms—as hailing from the wrong side of a “digital divide”—but as creative, joyful, affirming? What if the Black internet offers a standpoint from which the rest of the internet can be seen, and critiqued, more clearly?