Statistics show that the region with the fastest growing number of Twitter users is Latin America with Brazil and Venezuela as the leaders. According to a recent survey by a Hispanic online publication, Pulso Social, most Latin American Twitter users use the service to follow friends, family and news updates. Rarely is it used for business communication.
Since social media is still growing and the jury is still out on its future, the impact on Latin American culture will be interesting to see. The Spanish language usually takes more words to explain concepts, stories and news. Being to the point is not a Latin American characteristic, both in writing and in speaking. As a Bolivian I can attest to this.
A person who is “too direct”, in Latin America as well as in many cultures, can be seen as offensive. Twitter is based on sharing information quickly and using only 140 characters. Storytelling and information sharing in Spanish can be challenging because more words and background are required. With Twitter increasing in popularity in Latin America, it will be interesting to see how this changes communication.
I personally see this change—I get impatient when people explain information in Spanish and I expect them to be more direct and concise. I have to stop myself and appreciate the beauty of the words, the context and the strategy around getting to a story.
The cultural changes and potential opportunities due to social media are still to be seen. At least we know that there is a change in expectations, particularly with the younger generations that are getting accustomed to receiving information that is succinct, fast, and to the point.