Royals Twitter and Digital Anthropology

Today I created a glossary of terms and hashtags used by the Kansas City Royals Twitter community (which I have been a VERY active member of for over 3 years). It got me thinking of several cool ways to look at and study social media and digital communities as they relate to subcultures, particularly sports fan bases.

The Royals Twitter community is populated by hundreds, if not thousands of people, who share a common language. There are numerous of blogs and personalities. On the surface my collection of our terms is nothing more than “historical recording” but it’s indicative of digital community formation and evolution. You get a feel for the type of humor we have, how we cope with 2-and-a-half decades of losing and incompetent management, how we celebrate, and our perspectives on the sport of baseball. There are certain areas where division and disagreement are also evident. It’s really kind of cool to see all of that happen through little pieces of language.

I’m not exactly sure how I would describe the “so-what” to those in my own discipline, but there’s something there. I guess it’s like a digital anthropology? I really enjoy it. It’s probably why I spend so much time participating and thinking about it. And, even if I never do anything with it, since the Library of Congress is archiving all public Tweets, the glossary could be handy for future scholars looking to study similar subjects.

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