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The Growing Influence and Power of the Connected Latinos

Posted: 11/18/11 07:43 AM ET

What happens when you take a relationships-based culture to the next level with the use of social media? Suddenly power networking, knowledge transfer, collaboration opportunities and ideas generation start to blossom and feed a powerful social dynamic that is already growing rapidly under the radar of marketers, business leaders and local governments nationwide.

The LATISM (Latinos in Social Media) National Conference 2011 that recently took place in Chicago is a good example of how the highly interactive and social nature of the New Web is powering Latinos in the US today. For those of you who still don't know LATISM, it is a pioneering social media organization hailed as the most influential online movement in the new multicultural Web. Its mission is simple: advance the social, civic and economic status of the Latino community through education, networking and the use of social technologies. The event brought together for the first time business and community leaders, government officials, online influencers, professionals and an impressive lineup of top speakers that shared their knowledge and experience with all attendees. The "Windy City" became for three days a Latino think-tank exploring how to use social media to amplify the impact of business leadership, personal influence and public service campaigns within the Latino community, in addition to exploring case studies in the areas of Health, Education, Economic Development and Civic initiatives. The power of connected Latinos in action.

Recent studies confirm known realities and reveal new ones behind this new driving force. Latinos are not only early adopters of new technologies, high consumers of media/ information and have a growing buying power that is starting to be taken seriously by many businesses. They are also powerful networkers by nature, culturally prone to help others, share their relational capital/knowledge/experience with peers when needed, and creatively collaborate to solve problems affecting the Latino community. The possibilities to create value that arise when you connect all these "dots", give them a voice and a global, viral platform based on the new principles redefining organizations and societies today - being open, peering, sharing and acting globally- are endless. From companies openly engaging geographically dispersed Latinos to cocreate products and services, and the birth of new participatory, dynamic political/economic/social models, to the rise of networked citizens sharing real time information and knowledge to solve common problems in their communities, true innovation now becomes reality.

There are still many challenges ahead, but smart organizations that proactively engage, take the time to understand and find innovate ways to collaborate with the growing power and influence of the connected Latinos in the US, will undoubtedly become the market leaders and successful governments of tomorrow. Get ready for the new age of Latino mass collaboration!