Hispanics are very social and expressive and love to express themselves emotionally. They are loud, friendly, expressive and show care by kissing, hugging and personal touch. This is a trait that carries largely in all Latino cultures and yet they are extremely hooked to their phones where none of these emotions can be “physically” expressed. Because all the social networks like Facebook use images ,videos, emoticons and games to enhance the user experience and ‘ express via these resources their feelings toward a subject , an idea and the like there are large consumers of social media.
How does this affect verbal communication and language?
Because more than verbal cues the nonverbal communication is what makes the Latino community (or many tick. They like to have personal and familial relationships to those they do business with, relate to commercially as in business, retail and food stores. For it is this personal touch and familiarity that evokes trust in whom they are doing business with.
This emotional connection is extremely important to Latinos.
Given these qualities and this need, how does this relate to the social media world? Because in every survey, Hispanics over index in social media use.
- Firstly, there is an economic reason as for the high usage, most Hispanics do not use a land line nor have one in their home . They do everything on cellphones and their social life is centered on their cellphone use. They chat, take pictures, share pictues, share music files, they are big video streamers on their phone and follow and shop from brands that cater to them and remain loyal to them . It is the trust I spok about when they feel they are spoken to or heard. That in itself become part of their social sharing. Cell phones become their only way to communicate with friends, school and for internet use.
How does this transcend to language and social networks?
Overall, as Latinos get more and more acculturated their use of Spanish decreasises and are more comfortable using the English as their primary language. That is not to say that Spanish is not used at all. This is clearly a generational issue as Pew Research center reported back in April yet the same article states that Latinos regardless of generation (whether US born or first generation Hispanic) agree that learning Spanish is important. Yet, the use of Spanish increases lightly when Hispanics do certain activities. That is listening to music, watching TV and even thinking . Many still process ideas in their primary language. And on an earleir study (2009) second generation Latinos identified themselves as their parents country of origin rather than identifying themselves as American.
This lends itself to the importance of cultural ties, language and family. Despite the level of acculturation these cultural ties are very present and important to them and companies are taking note and in this cultural mesh it is what companies are striving for to reach the Hispanic market.
Companies like Target and General Motors are establishing these outreach projects of using bloggers and influencers who have a background in the Latino community to embrace these cultural differences and attract consumers whether acculturated who are fully bilingual or the foreign born who mostly use Spanish.
There is a point where both cultures can exist together and create a large cross-over and using social media has become a way to reach them. Since familiarity and personal relationships are important to them, when they embrace parts of your cultural identity, Latinos are sure to listen.