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Introducing the Sweet Spot: Latinos/Hispanics and Web 2.0

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Latinos and Hispanics in Web 2.0 are in the sweet spot. Over the course of the last few days, whether it be at Netroots Nation in Las Vegas, the Bridge Conference in the beltway or within Ogilvy's own LatinRed professional network during an event in New York City, I have found myself in conversations with various folks talking about the opportunity found in engaging this demographic online here in the States.

So what is the opportunity?

At the end of last year and beginning of this year, I was thrilled to see a couple of recent studies that provided a quantitative backing to what I and others in the industry have been saying for years: Latinos are in Social Media.

According to a report released by the Pew Hispanic Center and the Pew Internet & American Life Project in December of 2009, internet use among Latino adults rose by 10 percentage points from 54% to 64% between 2006- 2008. In comparison, the rates for whites rose four percentage points, and the rates for blacks rose only two percentage points during that time period.

A recent report published by AOL and Cheskin states that the number of Hispanics online has grown faster than the growth of the total US population. Two similarly striking findings of this report are that Latinos have more confidence in online product rating sites than their friends' opinions (78%: 28%) and that they are earlier adopters of technology, more so than general market users.

Moreover, the AOL and Cheskin report found the percentage of bloggers in the Latino community to be at 21%.

So what does all this mean?

The numbers show that Latinos are:
-A significant presence in the Web 2.0 space and growing
-Content producers
-Early adopters
-Significantly influenced by online product ratings

Although two recent studies, "How Young Latinos Communicate with Friends in the Digital Age" and "The Latino Digital Divide: The Native Born versus The Foreign Born," just released by Pew report that Latinos are still playing catch up to their non-Latino counterparts online, the reports also state that younger native-born Latinos are embracing the technology enthusiastically. According to the reports:

- 85 percent of native-born Latinos older than sixteen use the internet
- 80 percent of native-born Latinos between sixteen and twenty five use cellphones and
- 78 percent of native-born Latinos between sixteen and twenty five with internet access use social networking sites.

With one out of every four children being born in the US of Hispanic origin, the significance of these findings should not be lost on us as it relates to this market or the opportunity it presents in the private, nonprofit and political sectors.

To not realize on this opportunity would be foolish.

It's like catching a baseball on the 'sweet spot' of the bat. If you don't swing, you can't knock it out of the park. It's time to swing and swing now!

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