Constructing Public Space| “Legit Can’t Wait for #Toronto #WorldPride!”: Investigating the Twitter Public of a Large-Scale LGBTQ Festival
This article investigates whether participation on Twitter during Toronto’s 2014 WorldPride festival facilitated challenges to heteronormativity through increased visibility, connections, and messages about LGBTQ people. Analysis of 68,231 tweets found that surges in activity using WorldPride hashtags, connections among users, and the circulation of affective content with common symbols made celebrations visible. However, the platform’s features catered to politicians, celebrities, and advertisers in ways that accentuated self-promotional, local, and often banal content, overshadowing individual users and the festival’s global mandate. By identifying Twitter’s limits in fostering the visibility of users and messages that circulate nonnormative discourses, this study makes way for future research identifying alternative platform dynamics that can enhance the visibility of diversity.