Social media campaign appeals to Twitter to enable & support use of the letter ñ in Twitter handle
GritoBlast! Spanish or Español is the most spoken non-English language in U.S. homes and is a dominant language online.
While Spanish has a large number of regional varieties, there is one commonality; one unifying tie that transcends offline and online ⎯ the use of the letter ñ.
With more than 54 million Latinos in the United States, the letter ñ is an integral part of how the largest ethnic minority in the US communicates, connects and ultimately, identifies. Recognizing the importance of this letter, Project Enye (ñ), in partnership with Sofrito For Your Soul, launched #WhereInTheWorldIsTheÑ, a public campaign rallying Spanish speakers (Latinos and non-Latinos) to ask Twitter© to enable and support the use of the letter ñ in a Twitter© handle.
“We applaud Twitter© for what they’ve done up to this point to acknowledge the letter ñ and we’re hopeful they’ll bring their effort full circle by making handles ñ compatible,” said Denise Soler Cox, first-time filmmaker and co-creator of Project Enye (ñ), a new media, multi-platform documentary project about first-generation American-born Latinos. “Twitter© handles are an extension of ourselves, interests and opinions and to have the option to use the ñ would be a monumental step towards helping Spanish speakers communicate, connect and identify in today’s socially-driven world.”
According to the Pew Research Center’s Social Media Update, Hispanics represented the largest site usage increase on Twitter© last year, growing from 16 percent in 2013 to 25 percent in 2014. The Center’s Internet Project estimates that 80 percent of U.S. Hispanic adults use social media, compared to 72 percent for the country overall. Of that total, 68 percent of U.S. Hispanic adults say they’ve used Facebook©, Twitter© or similar platforms, compared to 58 percent for the U.S. population.
Imagine the Possibilities
Ask any Latino if the letter n can be substituted for the letter ñ and they will emphatically respond with a steadfast “no”; yet, Twitter’s current alphabet algorithms systematically change peña to pena and español to espanol, leaving people and companies like Project Enye (ñ) with no other option other than to spell out the ñ or become Project N.
Published poet, essayist and freelance writer, Rich Villar, wrote a blog that posted on Sofrito For Your Soul that conveys the importance of incorporating the letter ñ in one of the largest online social networking service platforms today.
Below is an excerpt.
“…Here’s the thing: We actually can’t use the ñ in our handle. Neither can you. Not yet, anyway. (Hi, Twitter! #CanWeTalk?)
Imagine if other companies and organizations had to operate this way. Three Em? Tee Mobile? Gee Em? Aitch Bee Oh? The En Double-Ay See Pee? Confusing, to say the least.
We believe our histories start with our names. What happens when Denise Soler moves west from the Bronx, and finds her name moves from so-LER (with the accent on the short “e”) to SO-ler, accent on the long “o”)? Is a song with the same lyrics and different melody still the same song? Can Rich Villar (vee-JHAR) from Paterson, New Jersey, live in the same body as Rich Villar (VILL-er) from Rockland County, New York?
Imagine an online space where the Ñ was universally recognized here in the United States. Imagine a space in which names, places, ideas, even food, were recognized and spelled correctly in its language of origin. Imagine a Twitter handle like @ProjectÑ. We can!
“This would be a big step in acknowledging who we are as Latinos and exactly how much we bring to the table,” said George Torres, CEO and founder of Sofrito For Your Soul. “Our history has never been documented with integrity, and now that we are documenting our own stories, we cannot even give proper credit to those writing it.”
The Project Enye (ñ) documentary is set to be released late 2015 and will be submitted to major US Film Festivals for award consideration. To learn more about Project Enye (ñ), subscribe to their multi-media content or pledge a donation to support the initiative, please visit www.projectenye.com or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.