Debt of Gratitude: Lin-Manuel Miranda and the Politics of US Latinx Twitter

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Twitter Profile, September 2020

This essay, which engages in an analysis of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s invocation of “for you” on Twitter in comparison to those of twelve other US Latinx writers, has two goals: to identify broader key trends in the discursive strategies used on Latinx Twitter and to make the case for the urgent need to ethically document and archive contemporary Latinx Twitter production. The author moves in the direction of generating a public academic archive of Latinx Twitter by publishing online a limited corpus of Miranda’s “for you” tweets as well as comparative visualizations of how Miranda’s use of “for you” in tweets parallels and differs from other Latinx writers’. In addition to modeling the flawed process of archive-building in the hopes of encouraging other scholars to thoughtfully share their own Twitter archive processes, this essay analyzes the strategies used by some US Latinx creative writers to navigate Twitter and how these strategies may speak to the writers’ understanding of the relationship between institutions, audiences, and aesthetics. It specifically highlights the digital work of Cuban American playwright Marissa Chibas, Puerto Rican poet Rich Villar, and Puerto Rican writer Charlie Vázquez on Twitter as a counternarrative to Miranda’s aesthetics. Much work remains to be done in order to understand how Twitter acts as a vehicle for Miranda and the multitude of US Latinx writers who connect with audiences and each other as a means of translating emotion into action or profit or something else altogether.

Principal Investigator

Elena Machado Sáez
Email: ems040@bucknell.edu

Acknowledgements

I am indebted to the expertise of Emily Sherwood, who served as the Assistant Director of Digital Pedagogy and Scholarship at Bucknell University in 2017 and trained me to use TAGS, Twitter Archiver, and Voyant. I am also grateful to Diane Jakacki, Todd Suomela, and Christian Howard-Sukhil, who provided support for this project at its later stages.

Project Website

Project Status

Published

Funding

  • Untenured Junior Faculty Leave, College of Arts and Sciences, Bucknell U. (Spring 2018)
  • CSREG Scholarly Development Grant, “Hamilton and the Digital Archives of Latinx-Caribbean Writing,” Bucknell U. (2017)
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