Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Might Online Media Disrupt Acculturation?

After reading Felipe Korzenny's and Lee Vann's column about Hispanics' adoption of social media relative to other ethnic demographics, a question came to mind: how will social networks affect the acculturation process among Hispanics? The ability to keep in touch with family and friends from countries-of-origin via email, Skype and online newspapers back home makes it easier than ever. Travel costs are at historic lows. And computer and mobile phone prices fall every year.
Combine these questions with the fact that more communities like Miami and McAllen, Texas, are reaching the tipping point of having a majority of Spanish speakers, and the question about how online media affects acculturation deserves some consideration. Six experts discuss this issue, after which you are invited to leave your comments, links to research and additional questions below.

"Latinos have strong ties to their heritage and country of origin," says Alvaro Palacios, the Regional Director of Business Development at Terra. "According to Pew's Latino Youth report, only 33% of second-generation Hispanics claims to be American first, while 41% still prefer to name their country of origin. Even with third-generation Hispanics, only 50% consider themselves American first."

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