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#Civic Information

Reimagining online knowledge to facilitate and deepen Latino engagement in U.S. civic life

The Big Picture

In collaboration with longtime partner Harmony Labs, Equis worked to explore the online search behavior of U.S.-based Latinos to understand their online knowledge landscape and how we might bridge the gap between day-to-day curiosity and long term civic engagement.

Equis is pioneering the integration of Latino civic engagement into the digital realm through the Front Page of the Internet Initiative. The aim of this initiative is to embed a culture of civic engagement within digital platforms frequented by Latinos. It seeks to present a vision of a pro-democracy, abundant future directly to Latinos where they spend their time online by ensuring they get timely and accurate information in the languages they speak. This initiative is a testament to our commitment to transforming online spaces into platforms for empowerment, leadership, and informed participation, aligning with Equis’ vision for a more engaged Latino community and setting the stage for innovative approaches to mobilize and build long-term cultural influence within the Latino community.

In an interactive web report from Harmony Labs at the Narrative Observatory, you can immerse yourself in what civic engagement currently looks like online, and how you can turn audiences’ every day search curiosity into lasting civic participation. Explore potential opportunities for civic engagement across top issues like health care, immigration, or climate change; identify where these and other relevant issues appear across constellations; and learn about the kind of content that might work to turn capturable curiosity into civic engagement opportunities. You can read a high level overview about the project below.  

Key Findings

For this project, “Capturable Curiosity for Civic Engagement,” Harmony Labs mapped the entire shape of the internet by looking at 11.5 million online searches from Latino participants in an opt-in panel of 300,000+ people, spanning 16 months between June 2020 and December 2021. Based on this analysis, they were able to understand what civic engagement looks like online, how Equis might bridge the gap between day-to-day curiosity and long term civic engagement, and how Equis might convert that curiosity into civic participation.

  • Currently, civic life online is about errands, not engagement
  • “Capturable curiosity” signals opportunities to insert civic content during search moments where users are expressing real, tangible interest in certain issues/topics
  • We can use capturable curiosity to be strategic in places where people are already landing after searches
  • The internet has evolved from a wide, sparsely distributed network of specialty sites and blogs into a collection of massive anchor sites and platforms. These sites exert substantial gravitational pull on all traffic, including search traffic, and are therefore the most important places to integrate civic engagement content
  • Embedding a civic culture in everyday internet usage can be as simple as adding a paragraph on an existing Wikipedia article that more accurately captures the full breadth and complexity of an issue  

Looking Forward

Cultivating a vision of pro-democracy online for Latinos isn’t an exercise in getting a new product on a specific site in front of an audience. It requires capturing moments when users are actively seeking information and guiding them to content that not only addresses their immediate needs but allows them to encounter information and opportunities to participate in democracy culture in the course of their normal internet usage. This approach is committed to offering timely and accurate information in the languages that Latinos speak.

In direct response to key findings from this work, serving as a cornerstone of the Front Page Initiative, the Wiki Project at Equis aims to train community members to become Wikipedia editors, in order to tackle the underrepresentation of Latino history, culture, and contributions on one of the most visited websites in the world. This initiative not only increases the accessibility of accurate and culturally relevant information but also empowers Latinos to take an active role in shaping their narrative and history, contributing to a broader understanding of Latino influence and identity.



About Equis

Equis Institute is a 501(c)(3). We are a hub for leaders in the Latino community who want to foster a better connection between Latinx communities and the democratic process. We convene partners around innovative research and ideas and provide capacity building & training opportunities for national, state, and local leaders. Learn more here.

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