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Are Latinos Turning Away From Traditional Media For Information?

NPR's Tell Me More with Michel Martin hosted a Google+ Hangout on air, focusing on "Emerging Latinos and Innovations."

Latinos are an emerging force in social media. According to the ratings company Nielsen, "Hispanic adults are 25 percent more likely to follow a brand and 18 percent more likely to follow a celebrity than the general online population."

Two of Tell Me More's regular contributors, Aracely Panameno and Manny Ruiz, shared these thoughts in advance of our Hangout.

Panameno, of the Center for Responsible Lending, says Latinos are the "come-from-behind kids" when it comes to digital media.

"Our communities accessed the Internet on the palm of their hands through smartphones," Panameno says. "Early on, few Latino families could purchase computers and Internet service at home. As cellphone technology improved, coverage grew, and data plans came down in price. Latinos embraced technology and never looked back."

"In my family, I was the first to learn programming languages since I was in high school," she says. "I was the first to buy home desktop computers, then laptops, then notebooks. I have not purchased a tablet, because it is not fully functional for what I do. My daughter, who is now 24, doesn't know what it is not to have a computer at home. ... Today, all my siblings have a computer and Internet access at home. We all have smartphones, including all our children. We all have Facebook pages. My daughter and I tweet."

Ruiz believes that using social media is not just for the family, but essential for the Latino community. Ruiz is chairman of Hispanicize, an annual gathering that brings together thousands to talk about social media and marketing, and co-founder of the Latina Mom Bloggers network.

"Social media represents the most powerful medium Latinos have ever had to find their voice and harness their growing strength socially, economically and politically," Ruiz says. "Today no brand, organization or political figure can ignore the fact that if they want to win this demographic segment over, they must engage Latinos in a full-scale way that puts social media toward the top."

Michel Martin discussed ideas with +Ana Roca Castro, CEO of Plaza Familia and founder of #Latism; +Laura Martinez, writer, blogger and founder of Mi blog es tu blog; and +Lance Rios, founder of the online magazine Being Latino.

You can still join the conversation by using #NPRLatism or leaving your questions on this page.

We want to hear opinions from across the country to stay connected and learn more about how social media is helping Latinos find their voice.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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