Potential Cultural Changes in Latin America due to Twitter

In USA on June 12, 2011 by vmcfarre Tagged: , ,

Technology revolutionizes the way we communicate, do business, and interact. Because of this, we have new expectations for getting information. Less words. More images. Faster. To the point!

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.

3 Responses to “Potential Cultural Changes in Latin America due to Twitter”

  1. Your main premise about how technology is changing the way that we communicate is hard to argue with – but I liked that you took that fairly obvious conclusion and applied it to a region and culture that the reader might not expect.

    You offered some very strong statistics as proof of the points that you made, and the way that you weaved them into your post was logical and helped to demonstrate that you knew the subject and what you were talking about. Your point about how Twitter is used on a personal level but rarely for business was one that I found particularly interesting.

    Through your post, it seems like the trend that you chose to focus on was how short form communications like Twitter might cause some Latin American cultures to communicate differently than they are used to. The unasked question was whether you feel like social media can really change this behaviour, or whether it will need to accomodate for it through different sites or technology.

    Why do you think that certain social media sites like Orkut have found much more popularity in Latin American markets like Brazil instead of the more mainstream American sites? Does this support the point that you make about how short form communication like Twitter may not be the easiest thing to succeed in Latin American cultures? Also, is writing and speaking in a shorter form the only cultural impact that you think technology like Twitter is having on Latin America?

    Addressing some of those points would take this post from good to great. (4)

  2. I would love to see similar statistics for the rest of the world. Do you know where these may be available? Also, I think you make a really great point about how different cultures have varied ways of communicating (some to the point, others more luxurious storytellers). Egyptians are known to be rich in their storytelling abilities and can talk FOR. EVER. Unfortunately, I didn’t inherit those talents. And Egyptians have rapidly embraced the Twitter trend so fast. Maybe because of the recent Revolution. Maybe because they like the idea of quality over quantity. In my humble opinion, that is what Twitter forces us to do — write a quality (hopefully interesting and/or meaningful) post in a short amount of space.You never know… Latin America may find that change just as refreshing.

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