A new study by the Pew Hispanic Center titled How Young Latinos Communicate with Friends in the Digital Age shows that the new Hispanic generation (ages 16 to 25) prefer to communicate via mobile technologies with text messages and cell phone calls. The findings, which ranked texting at the top of the list, were gathered from a nationwide telephone survey of Latinos conducted by the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center.
I was pleasantly surprised to learn that meeting in person is third on the list. It is good to know that no matter how fast and efficient text messages are, SMS and quick phone calls can be, that nothing can replace a face-to-face meeting. And according to the results, among 16- and 17-year-olds1, just under half (49%) of Hispanics text daily, compared with 64% of non-Hispanics. When it comes to talking with friends daily via cell phone, there is less of a difference — 44% of Hispanics say they do, compared with half (51%) of non-Hispanics who say the same. I wonder if the results differ from culture to culture. Do you prefer email or face-to-face meetings? Do you think your culture affects your preferred choice of communication or is mostly convenience?
One thing I would be interested in finding out is how Hispanics in general communicate in the workplace. Do they differ from their non- Hispanic counterparts? And if so, how? I particularly like email because I like to have things in writing- a client approval, changes to a document, etc. But I also use the phone a lot. And, if I need further explanation on something, nothing replaces face-to-face time. If I had to do away with texting, I easily could. But I couldn’t function without email or phone…and LinkedIn or Facebook. I’m a fan of social networks because they are effective and efficient ways to communicate with your circle of be it friends or business partners.
Another issue that the study examined was how the use of mobile communication technologies varies in young Latinos by nativity. Two-thirds (65%) of the native born say they communicate with their friends by text message daily, while just 26% of the foreign born do so. And more than half (55%) of the native born talk daily by cell phone with their friends, while just 29% of the foreign born say they do the same (as indicated by the chart above).
As someone who is no longer a young Hispanic (ay! I turned 30 earlier this week), I fall into the category of the 21% of the Hispanic Adults who use texting to communicate with their friends versus the 50% of young Latinos who do the same. Not only is this study making me feel old(er), but also like a dinosaur that is not adapting to new technologies. But I can live with that because I find that texting with my close friends is somewhat impersonal. I prefer to call – even if I have to leave a message most of the time. Are you a Hispanic Adult who prefers calling as opposed to texting like me? If so, when do you text?
And to keep things interesting, the study also looked at the communication preferences between young Hispanic females and males. Guess what? The girls like social networking more than guys– 27% vs. 19%. But more surprisingly was the fact that young female Hispanics are less likely than young Hispanic males to communicate face-to-face outside school or work with their friends — 15% vs. 26%. That is a big difference. But I’m thinking this isn’t necessarily a cultural thing.
So marketers take a pen and write this down, so that next time you’re planning a promotional event or contest while trying to reach the young Hispanic market you’ll know exactly what to do. In the meantime, I’ll keep bringing you the latest research on this growing group that is impacting American culture.