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Spanish-dominant Bilingual Youth

Bilingual youth who construct their vocabulary between what they learned at home in Spanish and what they learned at school or work in English are more comfortable with a casual language among their peers that mixes phrases and words of these two languages.

According to my study of language preferences in digital media among 18-25 year-old Latinos/Hispanics, the less acculturated ones side with Spanglish-themed programming such as the no longer existing Univision-owned radio station “La Kalle,” because mainstream media does not resonate with who they are collectively.

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Millennials’ High Context is Influencing American Values

By Mari D. González

I’m pleased to see how millennials are influencing our current society. They have acquired a broader awareness of their social and global environments than previous generations.

Millennials are more “contextual” or high context and have influenced the workplace and our current societal values. They are more in tune with their immediate social environment and with global happenings and expect people to have a sense of a global community. They care about world affairs and social causes.

These facts are relevant to cross-cultural communication because millennials are changing the emerging fabric of the American culture.  I’d attribute these changes to two factors. One is the circularity and interconnectedness that online communication offers. Secondly, a great majority of millennials come from cultures that are collectivists such as Latino and Asian.

More on this topic at Hiring Millennial: You’re Likely Missing the Point.

Latinos in the U.S.

By Mari D. González

This is a comment I shared on the Hispanic Professionals LinkedIn Group discussion titled, “Bilingualism Key to Breach the Gap.”

“The hope for the advancement of Latinos in the U.S. lies among young educated and aware Latinos/Hispanics who are the product of bilingualism for they did not grow up during the time when speaking Spanish was prohibited.

Unfortunately, before the 1970′s  Latinos or Mexican Americans were either forced to identify  with the general, macro, dominant culture–white–or to be secluded in cluster communities up to the explosion of the Chicano Movement which proclaimed the recognition of the indigenous roots of Mexican culture and empowered Mexican Americans to advance politically.  As radical as it was, the painful conscientious movement was indeed needed.

As a result, young Latinos and Latinas are enjoying one of the greatest legacies from it–bilingualism. We are also more knowledgeable of the two cultures that makes us up. We are integrated. We are expanding our awareness of our culture of origin–Latin America–by socializing online, by traveling and by being more exposed to different cultures and places.

Young Latinos and Latinas are currently graduating from college in record numbers. This can be attributed to our collectivist values, or group efforts to mentor and tutor, to expand culturally appropriate program in colleges and high schools such as Puente and above all to having a willingness of being role models to upcoming students.

That is what differentiates Latinos from whites and blacks. Latinos have a strong commitment to improve their communities. Even when succeeding Latinos might leave their neighborhoods to study or work, most return to uplift others.

Who needs JLo, Jessica de Alba, Ted Cruz, or any of those washed out Latinos. While they might be popular, they have no true influence. Influence is acquired by taking responsibility for and by making an impact on others’ lives and by uplifting human values.

Being Latino is not a label. Being Latino is a strong community commitment to help Latinos in need. Yet, we need to move away from history to create a clear vision of the future as one cultural group. We must ask ourselves, What is it that we want as a group?  Where are we moving toward? What our direction should be?”

Social Media and Americans

By Mari D. González

According to a study conducted by MarketingCharts only 32% of Americans aged 18-64 rate social media’s importance a top priority. The report adds, “That makes Americans about 20% less likely than average respondent across 24 markets to consider social media important to them.”

Ipsos-Importance-of-Social-Media-to-Americans-Oct2013International Social Media

“On a global scale, social media is rated important (top-2 box) by the highest proportion of respondents in Turkey (64%), Brazil (63%), Indonesia (62%), China (61%) and Saudi Arabia (59%). By comparison, social is important to the smallest proportion of respondents in France (17%) and Japan (24%).” MarketingCharts Staff

On Social Media and Culture

“Culture is the study of groups. Social Media is all about groups. Thus, Social Media promotes and creates culture.” Mari D. González

English: Infographic on how Social Media are b...

English: Infographic on how Social Media are being used, and how everything is changed by them. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Social Media and Storytelling

English: Story telling at Ancient Technology C...

English: Story telling at Ancient Technology Centre, Cranborne Gayle Ross, visiting from the USA, tells traditional stories of the Cherokee people in the Earth House. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Social Media can be storytelling, a source of information and a communication tool but…it [also] allows us to form emotional bonds and express our emotions online.” –Frankie De Soto, MFA

“Social media is about people telling their stories, insisting in their humanity…[and]  storytelling about their products…. Allowing anyone, anywhere to tell their stories and connecting with each other. It’s what I call the Age of Positive Disruption.” –Jose Antonio Vargas

Social Media Course in Spanish

My iPhone 4 home screen

My iPhone 4 home screen (Photo credit: Robert Scoble)

Curso Las Redes Sociales y Su Negocio

Fecha: Martes, 3 de Diciembre

Hora: 6:00-9:00 PM

Dirección: 1115 3rd St. San Rafael, CA 94901

Aprenda a utilizar las plataformas de redes sociales como LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Yelp y YouTube para promover su negocio o sus servicios profesionales.

Comience creando una estrategia sencilla pero con objetivos claros para definir cual plataforma es la mas apropiada para cumplir su meta de negocio. Mientras estas redes sociales son gratis, se necesita bastante inversión de tiempo.  Es por eso que es necesario ser estratégico y planear por adelantado.

En este taller interactivo aprenderá a detallar lo que le ofrece cada red social y cuales son las herramientas mas convenientes para cumplir sus objetivos y como utilizarlas de la mejor manera.   También obtendrá información importante sobre privacidad, autoridad, influencia, reputación y algunas leyes básicas para prevenir posibles riesgos.

Costo: $20 –   Para registrarse online: http://rencentermarin.org/business-workshops/

Para mas información, llame a Lucero al 415-755-1115 ext. 1029

Facebook vs. Face-to-Face

By Mari D. González

It is not uncommon for older generations  to  hold a differing perception on the use of social-network sites from that of  “the young and the digital.”

Many of us assume that social-network communication or the use of social media will eventually displace the need and/or desire for in-person interactions.

Media Associate Professor, S. Craig Watkins asserts differently. He observes that young people use social-network sites as an extension of their face-to-face interactions not as a replacement and that they mostly interact in Facebook with their already-made friends and school peers. For them, social media is what for older generations the phone was.

I shall expand on this topic soon.

Invitation to Participate in a Social Media Study

You are invited to participate in a research study which will ask you about your social-network use and preferences, and the cultural characteristics you perceive in social media. My name is Mari D. González, and I am a student in the Masters in Intercultural Relations Program at the University of the Pacific, School of International Studies. You were selected as a possible participant in this study because of your interest in social-network sites.

This study will compare second-generation Latinos/Hispanics in the U.S or native-born (born in the U.S.) with at least one foreign-born parent (parent born in Latin America: Mexico, Central America and South America) vs. dominant culture (people who predominately identify as U.S.-white and do not identify with a particular U.S. ethnic minority).

You will receive a Peet’s Coffee & Tea gift card  of $5.00 as a thank you for your participation. Social-network users who identify with either cultural group are encouraged to participate.

If interested, please go to Social Media Study include your email at the end of survey to contact you and set up a 45 min. phone interview. Please email me at maridgonzalez@yahoo.com for more information.

Being Latino on Facebook II

By Mari D. González

This is the second part of my interview with Lance Rios, founder and administrator of Being Latino, “a communication platform designed to educate, entertain and connect all peoples across the global Latino spectrum.” It is the largest Latino/Hispanic page on Facebook with 41,460 “People Like This” to date -an additional 9,884 followers since the date of my first post on May 27, 2010.

For Lance, Facebook provides an already established and flexible platform on which participants can “communicate back and forth in whatever language they want, Spanish or English.” Conveniently, there are plenty of Latino/Hispanic social-network users. According to him, there is no need to create any specific social-network website for them.

Mainstream vs. Latino

I wanted to know if there were any differences between “mainstream” and Latino Facebook users. Mainstream users are considered the general market or non-ethnic segment in marketing. In other words, mainstream users are by and large in-tune with the popular U.S. American culture.  Lance contends that Spanish-language phrases that are immediately recognized by Latinos/Hispanics such as, “Que pasa” and “Mi gente” are essential when communicating with Latinos on social-network sites and that using “English-language [only] is limiting.” Thus, Spanish as a language becomes a salient cultural indicator for Latinos even when only a few words are being used.

Singh, Baack, Kundu and Hurtado (2008) argue, “[Spanish language] tends to be the most visible manifestation of U.S. Hispanic identity.”  According to my my academic research on digital media, bilingual, second-generation Latinos/Hispanics prefer English websites that include phrases and words in Spanish because those speak to their cultural identity. Lance agrees, “You need to speak their language.” Language choices represent how young Latinos see themselves. Their language is as hybrid as their cultural identity.

Social Media Trends

When asked about Latino trends in social media, Lance first asserts that Latinos are a strong market, “Latinos are a young audience and the fastest growing.” He explains that Latinos have a great interest in connecting with other Latinos wherever they may be. For instance, “they want to know what is going on with Latinos in East L.A.,” which unlike with any other demographic it is consistent with Latinos/Hispanics. For Lance, “connecting among Latinos within the Latino community is to identify and to [identify is to] capitalize.”

Lance affirms that Latinos are less afraid of saying what they think and feel, “they are more expressive in social media and more willing to put it out there” adding that in Latin America people are encouraged to carry over [their culture] by expressing it.” According to him, Latinos in the U.S. are not different. He states, “they are expressive and passionate” about their culture.

I was very curious to know which topics get the most responses and keeps Latino/Hispanic fans engaged. Lance notes that it is difficult to capture the attention of social media users with topics that need more consideration. He advises keeping things straightforward and “not to use too much thought, simple [uncomplicated] stuff generates the most responses.” As for my appraisal, his topics are hardly ever simple; his spin is though.  For instance, Lance’s October 2, post with a link to the L.A. Times article, “CNN’s Rick Sanchez fired after statement about Jews in TV” reads on top, “CNN fires news anchor, Rick Sanchez, Thoughts?” On October 2, 2010, this post generated 103 comments within a day of posting.

Edited by Connie Cobb