Saturday, February 27, 2010

Hispanic Social Networking Activities Continue to Thrive

Since the dawn of the digital age, people have been drawn to the immediate virtual interconnection of the internet, its functions and its products. Millions of people use the internet not only as a source of news, opinion, and entertainment, but specifically as a route to maintain friendships, relationships, and communities, which otherwise would be impossible due to long distances or other complications. In particular, the advent of the social networking website has led to the domination of interpersonal relationships by the intangible presented on the screen. What is the relationship between the US Hispanic population, and popular (or unpopular) social networking sites, how do they consume online information, and how will their participation in these sites likely continue?

First, a distinction must be made between English speaking Hispanics, and non-English speaking Hispanics. Though the majority of Spanish speaking nations have a balance of English and Spanish linguistic ability present in (especially) the youth culture, this duality is not without exception. Many English speaking Hispanics are of second generation immigrants to the United states, or perhaps those of a higher educational range. Most Latinos in the United States who cannot speak English are older, and subsequently less likely to adapt to new technologies.

The Florida State University Center for Hispanic Marketing Communication recently did a study on ethnic and cultural influence on social media participation, and found that of a group of 2500 test subjects, each divided into five groups of English Preferring Hispanics, Non-English Speaking Preferring Hispanics, Non-Hispanic Whites, African Americans, and Asians, 36% of the English Preferring Hispanics reported visiting a social networking cite 2-3 times a month; this was the highest percentage featured out of all the ethnic subdivisions. Also, 46% of English Preferring Hispanics reported visiting Facebook or Myspace "regularly", again the highest percentage of the groups.

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These sites, Facebook and MySpace, along with Twitter, are the three largest social networking sites on the internet. Social networking sites, according to Time Magazine and rank no. 1 in popularity of internet access in groups 18-24 years olds, with search engines coming in second, and then web-based email access and subsequently adult entertainment. Social networking sites are being accessed often by Hispanics in the United States and abroad, but why?

First, Hispanic culture, specifically native to South America, has a long history of community based organization. The individual is less important than the whole in Hispanic tradition, which has traveled through time and geography to hold true to Latinos in the United States today. Also, more Hispanics in the United States are younger than their non-Hispanic counterparts. According to the United States Census Bureau, the median age of the Hispanic population in the United States was 27.7 years in 2008. The median age for the general population, including all ethnic and cultural minorities as well as Whites, was 36.8 years old in 2008. This leads to the inference that there are more young Hispanics in the United States, and so more Hispanics may be able and/or willing to acclimatize to new technologies such as social networking sites. In addition, it is widely viewed that Hispanic cultures reinforce emotional rather than rational behavior, and thus are likely to participate in relationship building more easily than non-Hispanics.

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1 comment:

  1. Online social networks have become a way of keeping in touch with old friends in the world, share their love of games, a web of love, revive the old romantic flame, or further your career through business networks Because Twitter and Facebook offers such a variety of benefits and options for a range of people, social networking sites have become a common phenomenon online.