In 2014 a report named “Spanish: A Living Language” (Español: una lengua viva) was published by the Instituto Cervantes. The institution, directed by Víctor García de la Concha, is the leading representative body for Spanish at a national and international level. The report stated that Spanish is the third most used language on the Internet and the second most popular language on the world’s main social networks: Facebook and Twitter. Use of Spanish grew by 807.00% between 2000 and 2011 and the potential growth of Spanish language users is still very large compared to English. According to the report, Spanish is the second most used language in predominantly English-speaking cities such as London or New York.
What is a social network? It is a site whose purpose is to allow social interaction and where users become content producers. Social networking has had a great impact worldwide and has become an everyday activity in the lives of many people as an essential communication tool.
Linguistic diversity is present in the different languages used on the Web where Spanish ranks third in terms of the number of Internet users; English first and Chinese comes in second (although it is generally only used by native speakers) and there are significant percentages of other languages. Let us see which languages are widely used on the Internet (Instituto Cervantes, 2014: 32):
Spanish on Facebook
Do you have Facebook? You have probably been a “victim” of that question at some point. Surely, you too have more friends on Facebook than in real life but, in any case, the exchange of information can generate a huge impact on the network. Visibility on both a personal and company level is crucial if you want to be taken into account. You just need to have a look around: How many companies around you have already created a Facebook account? It is likely that an active business role on social networks will generate prospective customers.
Although, as the report states, English can be considered to be the most widely used language on Facebook, Spanish ranks second, taking Portuguese (third most used language) and French (fourth most used language).The graph below illustrates the figures(Instituto Cervantes, 2014: 36):
Spanish on Twitter:
#Tweetinghasbecomefashionable:Hashtags (#)can really get the social networking accounts of celebrities noticed and they are even commonly used as a means to achieve an immense number of “followers”, which can create a revolution on the networks.
Spanish also occupies second spot in terms of most popular lanaguages on Twitter although the gap with English is much lower, as the report outlines(Instituto Cervantes, 2014: 37). The second position can be seen in international cities like London or New York (especially in three of its five districts: Harlem, Bronx and Queens). Furthermore, Spanish is used not only by hispanic communities but also by people from different cultural backgrounds.