Hispanic/Latino professional adults are more likely than their non-Latino white counterparts to use Twitter and Facebook when seeking out information about advocacy and/or identity, a recent survey suggests.
Mike Radlick, content creator at Maryland public relations firm Come Recommended, and assistant professor of journalism at University of Kansas Joseph Erba, surveyed 140 non-Latino white people and 115 Latino people on their Facebook and Twitter use, and researchers learned that Latinos were significantly more likely than non-Latinos to use their social media for advocacy and identity exploration.
The small-scale study was the first its kind to examine the motivation of Latinos as they use social media. Researchers also further gauged how Latinos use the platforms, as well as levels of gratification after use.
“Social media is becoming a larger part of our everyday lives, and people are becoming more sophisticated in the ways they use it,” Erba said in a statement. “We approached this study using the uses and gratifications theory because its simple framework seeks to understand the reasons people use media they do. Many studies have been done on this, but 99 percent of them focus on white users.”
While many studies focus on students, this study focused on the surveillance of working adults and their motivation. Researchers not only wanted to learn about gratification that Latinos received through use of these networks, but how levels of gratification differed between the two networks. To analyze this, study authors developed six categories for social media: advocacy; identity exploration; entertainment; interpersonal utility; passing time and information seeking. Advocacy and identity exploration, which were two new categories added by the researches, and it was where they found the largest difference between users of different ethnicities.
On Facebook and Twitter, Latinos reported that they were significantly more likely to seek advocacy and identity gratification through the networks. Researches explained that the disparity can be attributed to the fact that Latinos have an ability to control the message as they seek and share content about their own identities in way they’ve never been able to do before.
“One of the reasons racial minorities are using social media is they have been so heavily stereotyped in the media for so long, and now they have the tools to create their own message and share their own content,” Erba said.
Additionally, Latino respondents indicated they were significantly more likely to use Facebook for entertainment purposes, personal connections and to pass time. However, Latinos were more likely to use Twitter for advocacy and seeking information. When probing for information about their identity, both networks were used equally. According to researchers, those looking to reach the Latino audience about advocacy and/or identity can do so via “carefully crafted messages via the appropriate network.”
By Nicole Akoukou Thompson [Latin Post]