THE ECOLOGY OF LATINX TWITTER
Keywords:Twitter, Latinx, Latino, Culture, Ecology
Twitter is a conduit of culture. A miscellany of networked communities where participants reinforce and/or dismantle socially constructed ideas and narratives. For nearly a decade, studies on the uses and gratifications, and sociality of ethnic-centered networks in the U.S. have emerged. The body of literature is interdisciplinary and largely discusses Black Twitter (Brock, 2012; Florini, 2013; Sharma, 2013; Clarke, 2014; Lee, 2017), and to a lesser extent, Asian-American Twitter (Lopez, 2016). Conversely, research on Latinx Twitter is scarce (Novak, Johnson, & Pontes, 2016; Slaughter, 2016; Rosenbaum, 2018). As the second largest Spanish speaking country in the world, Latinx make up 18% of the U.S. population – the nation’s largest minority group (Pew Research Center, 2017). Often described in monolithic terms, Latinx epitomizes diversity. The pan-ethnicity represents over 21 nationalities, and a host of European and Indigenous languages, in which regional dialects are blended with African tongues to varying degrees. We take the position that prior to conducting behavioral focused analyses on Latinx Twitter, the network’s ecology must be defined. This means, to understand how the network of tens of ethnicities and heritages has self-organized. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to augment existing scholarship by exploring its ecology. Through a content analysis and interviews with six Latinx and Afro-Latinx women (18-24 years old) attending a Predominately White Institution (PWI) in U.S. South, we identified three major ecological themes: (1) Seeking Latinx Twitter; (2) Mega Network versus Sub-Networks; and (3) Implications for Monolithic Narratives.