SXSW 2010 - The Online Latino: A New Digital Native - Social Media and Latin America


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Info, stats and stories about Latin America, Latin Americans, and he web. These slides by Esteban Contreras, originally from Guatemala and now a Social Media Manager in NYC Metro Area, were first presented at SXSW Interactive 2010 as part of the"Future 15: Diversity" series. Get in touch with Esteban at, and

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  • Hey how are ya, my name is Esteban Contreras. I was born in Guatemala, lived in Dallas for 8 years and just recently moved to NJ to join Samsung Electronics as Social Media Manager. It’s so good to be back in TX for SXSW. Today I’m going to focus on Latin Americans and the web  “The Online Latino: A New Digital Native”.We all know that the web creates all kinds of opportunities and experiences. It has the power to educate those in most need and give a voice to the powerless and marginalized. The problem is sometimes the ability to get online.
  • Story in Mexico. Remote village that depended on the mayor’s cell phone. He asked me about the internet with a smile on his face. He had never seen it, but had heard amazing things about it.Once online, they are immersed in an everlasting pool of information that they never had access to. EducationOpportunitiesFun
  • Pre-Paid: Today, 35 million cell phone users in Central America.80% of Telefonica customers in 15 Latam countries are Pre-Paid Losing the digital accent: Meaning they are learning the language or languages of the web, and helping shape its future. Unfortunately, only 30% have access. So there are 70% of Latin Americans who don’t have access to the Internet.
  • Latin America is seen as a “perpetual latecomer”. The region came late to the world’s process of industrialization, and has suffered from it ever since.Challenges:Poverty – 25% live on less than 2USD a day. This means hunger, not just minimum wage. The average Guatemalan gets paid$7… a day, not hour. 20% of Latin American youth neither work nor attend school. racial and social inequality and injustice, and in some countries, no real middle class.*** - unemployment 37% - Of the 104 million young people in the region 34% only go to school, 33% only work, and 13% do both. In US: The Hispanic unemployment rate is "among the highest at 12.6 percent," the AP reported.Education:Only about 3% of University Professors in Mexico have a PHD. It’s closer to 50% in Great Britain.43% of the urban workforce in El Salvador did not even finish High School.The illiteracy rates are high and some governments are not doing anything about it" President of Uruguay on his plans to make Uruguay the most connected country in the world" --> education.  Laptops that students can take home (hopefully they won't turn on the webcams as they did in ___ lol)Brazil: trying to provide free access to the internet and software..Crime & Violence: My country of Guatemala has one of the highest homicide rates per year in the world, with 57.9 for every 100,000 inhabitants. More than 500,000 people have been killed with guns in Brazil between 1979 and 2003. Lack of infrastructure: Hot water and sanitation are a luxury in some remote rural areas. Internet access is simply not an option in too many areas.Censorship: Censorship basically means that governments are watching and freedom of expression is not appreciated. For example, WordPress is not available in some countries. Financing: Investments from large companies, VCs, and investors are not high enough to spur innovation. Lack of government making access and education it a national priority. South America has been much more proactive. E-commerce is booming and the new opportunities are enthusiastically welcomed- those who can afford it. In no other region in the world, the Digital Divide can be seen as drastically as in Latin America. History of political instability: A history of dictatorships and authoritarian governments, and even massacres and genocide, has not been good for progress. Unless governments make Internet access a priority, we can’t expect any of the other problems to cease to exist because government can work to reduce poverty, increase education, stop ridiculous censorship, and prevent telecoms from being anticompetitive and expensive.
  • Looking at this you must keep in mind the diversity within the different areas. - Brazil has more than three times the number of users in Argentina - Suriname, a small country in South America, doesn’t even have 100,000.There are 102 Million Facebook users in the US.“Can this pickle get more fans than Nickleback?”  1.5+ million fans
  • (sep 29)
  • (sep 29)30% of Latin Americans actively use the web 75% of the US population is online. Penetration:Africa 7%Asia 20%Europe 52%Middle East 28%Oceania/Australia 60%
  • visualizing that adjustment to the networked world is not an overnight process. None of us here can even imagine a world without computers or phones so I want you to take a second and remember what that was like. And now speed it up. Imagine going from physical letters to cell phones to Chat Roulette. In one year. While people like me had internet Guatemalain the early to mid 90s, there are people today who in the past few years from little to no form of communication to using cell phones and SMS and now the web. This is huge!Today’s Latin American kids that get online are digging stuff, developing Facebook apps, sharing entire seasons of LOST, editing Wikipedia entries, USTREAMING their thoughts, and probably even getting “nexted” on ChatRhoulett right now. In Mexico, the highest concentration of Internet users is 12-to-17-year-olds so hopefully they’re building Facebook apps and not Chatrhouletting.They no longer have to be ignorant because they don’t have an expensive encyclopedia that publishes stuff with a 2 yr delay, no longer do they have to send telegraph messages (which believe it or not still are used), no longer do they need to afford Microsoft Office to write a word doc, and no longer do they have to be limited by the options that their parents were limited to.Of course, there is a learning curve, but it’s going faster. While my mom in Guatestill thinks that I’m hacking into her account when she sees a photo of her in her Facebook newsfeed, she’s also hiring a full-time communications employee that’s going to double as a Social Media Manager to update their Facebook and Twitter accounts for my parents’ small business in Guatemala City.By the way, this phone here is an actual Samsung phone sold in Guatemala. It has an AM/FM radio on it and costs about $20. cheap, right? Well, don’t forget that the average Guatemalan makes about $200 a month, doesn’t have a credit card, and has no idea what SMS means. 1,200 videos en linea
  • Countries like Brazil and Mexico are highly social.73% in Mexico. 80% in Brazil. That’s the only reason Orkut is what it is.  US is only about 70%.And big into Blogging. 88% of Mexican/Brazilian Internet users read blogs. 50-60% of them write them. While in the US, about 70% read blogs and 30% are bloggers.
  • Ratatouille: “no es que cualquiera pueda ser periodista, pero un buen periodista puede salir de cualquier parte”.Kara Andrade is a Fulbright fellow based out of Guatemala where she is funded by the US State Department to implement She was the Community Organizer for Spot.Us, an open source project that focuses on community-funded reporting.HablaCentro is a collection of citizen news hubs in Central America, where the local communities can share their news, opinions and discuss in Spanish and with the means available to them – computer, email and text messaging. A team consisting of community organizers, editors, designers and technologists, support these hubs with tools and develop tutorials in Spanish to increate participation and ownership of the hubs by the local community. Currently there are five live hubs – Honduras, Guatemala, Venezuela, El Salvador and Costa Rica. a “regional pulse meter” and provides an online space for discussion.Each hub is built on top of Wordpress and 3rd party solutions already in use within each country. Each hub includes simple aggregation of content from Twitter, blogs, USTREAM, major news outlets, contributed commentary, analysis, opinion pieces. In the future the contributions will go through a more rigorous news editing process to maintain journalistic value.providing an open platform for anyone to post,make it accessible to report and view stories through the use of cellphones and computers,I found out about earthquakes in Haiti, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and most recently in Chile on Twitter. Chile tweets pointed me to live USTREAMs of Chilean TV. Up 12 hrs after..
  • Pizza hut changes its customer service policies for gays- Banks not granting credit cards to ppl over 70 - KFC manager calling a blogger “imbecile”- Believes an online customer service scandal is much more effective than the “consumer commission”No such thing as “Consumer Reports”Blog Post denunciando el mal trato recibidoRápida solidarización en la red (comentarios, posts de seguimiento, twitter, facebook...)Amelia Rueda lo denuncia en su programaDisculpas formales por parte de KFC All in 48 hoursBloggers and video livestreamershaveinterviewedseveralpresidentialcandidatesCustomerService: Julio Córdoba, fue a un KFC. ““Gerente de KFC trata a cliente de ‘imbécil”Amelia Rueda, trató el tema en y desde la radio.KFC reconoció los hechos, se disculpó en el programa de Amelia Rueda por lo sucedido, se comunicó personalmente con Córdoba y su amigo, y aseguró que el hecho fue aislado.periodista Hazel FeigenblattQuienpagamanda.comdenuncio a Pizza Hut poratender de forma discriminatoria a dos clienteslesbianas. Pizza Hut gave a public apology but it was not well received. They added that they would include en el protocolo de servicio con el cliente, el trato hacia los homosexuales. Pizza Hut se disculpó personalmente con las afectadas.
  • Despite the limited venture capital going in the consumer web and technology sectors, innovative and talented people are making their mark in Latin America.ClaseMovil: A learning community for kids, launched at TechCrunch50.Startups social application for Brazilian brands to communicate with its consumers JoinCube: For collaboration. Like Ning within the firewall.Tech Hubs / Havens:Costa Rica: English, 95% Literacy Rate, Amazon/Intel/Microsoft offices, Location: Nearsourcing, Safe Environment, Business-friendly EnvironmentChile: haven for tech investors and entrepreneurs / outsourcing hub / low corporate taxesinvest $500,000 over 5 years, and you can live there forever. They’ll even cover your due dilligenceccosts and help you with training costs. Chile has beachfront apartments for $500.Mexico: Mexico’s advantages start with low labor costs, which, at around one-quarter of US levels. Mexico holds great potential as a supplier of offshored services, given its low costs, proximity to the United States, fast-growing pool of university graduates, and promising domestic market.Even after accounting for the relatively high cost of electric power, Mexico is a less expensive offshoring location than low-wage centers in Eastern Europe. Indeed, for a company motivated primarily by cost, Mexico holds the most attractive position among the Latin American countries we studied.. cultural ties and physical proximity
  • The web as a life changer While in high school I was in a band with my brother. We recorded several songs and put them on Our music made it to many other countries, including Colombia where a band was covering our songs and making their own versions. My brother ended up connecting with one of their guitar players and eventually met his sister. They became friends and have been dating long-distance for many years now.
  • For better or worse, the web is a reflection of the offline world.Francisco Gressi: A 22 year old Guatemalan student and one of 500,000 Guatemalans with a Hi5 account, which was the first social network to really get people there sharing their private info publicly.Kidnapping group connected with him on Hi5Kidnapped him and his brother. Their father paid $2000 and a pickup truck. The kidnappers killed Francisco during the “meeting”. 200 reported kidnappings in Guatemala in 2009.
  • The web as a revolution starter In May of 2009, after several months of instability and fear in the country, a YouTube video created a national uproar unlike anything I’ve ever seen.The video was of a Guatemalan attorney named Rodrigo Rosenberg and in it he says that if you are watching the video it’s because he has been murdered. Not just by anyone, but by Alvaro Colom, the Presesident of Guatemala. He also accused a local bank and several other people of corruption. While the story was picked up by the AP, BBC, and CNN, it started to spread on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #escandalogt. That weekend and on many more weeekends Guatemalans gathered together for peaceful marches to ask the President to step down.
  • After hearing about the Rosenberg Case, Jean Anleu or @Jeanfer tweeted saying that he was pulling his money out of the “corrupt” bank involved.That one tweet got @jeanfer in jail with a $7000 fine and legal fees on a charge of “incitement of financial panic”. Initially it was even said that he was going to get 5 years. The government tried to silence him but they got a “Streisand Effect” that began with thousands of #savejeanfer tweets and coverage from blogs like BoingBoing to Mashable and traditional media from around the world. Half of Jeanfers’ fine and legal fees were raised through PayPal.
  • LatinAmerica has a lot to catch up to do.But.. it’s a rapidly growing Internet community.
  • SXSW 2010 - The Online Latino: A New Digital Native - Social Media and Latin America

    1. 1.
    2. 2. a new digital native<br />Digital Native: Born in the digital world (70’s - Present)<br />Digital Immigrant: Someone who adopted digital tech<br />Many Latin Americans were born in a digital world, but only<br />recently discovered it for themselves.<br />Their “nativeness” did not come from age, but from access.<br />// These new digital natives are Digital Newcomers.<br />1<br />22<br />
    3. 3. latam: heterogeneous<br />The one, the many Latin Americas<br />Latin America is a region, not a country<br />Latin Americans are as diverse/divided as Europeans<br />Latin Americans are all equally representative of Latin America<br />Latino Americans ARE online<br />Latin Americans love pre-paid cell phones<br />Latin Americans have embraced the web<br />Latin Americans are losing their digital “accent”<br />// Unfortunately, only 30% of them have access to the web…<br />
    4. 4. latam: the “perpetual latecomer”<br />The Divide:Is Not Just Digital,<br />But Also Social<br />And Economic.<br />// Crushed dreams of the<br /> Internet as a <br />“Knowledge Market”and “Class Neutralizer”<br />The Challenges:<br /><ul><li>Poverty & Inequality
    5. 5. High Illiteracy
    6. 6. Crime & Violence
    7. 7. Geography & Infrastructure
    8. 8. Censorship
    9. 9. Financing
    10. 10. Political Carelessness</li></ul>Human Rights Declaration of 1948, Article 27: “Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.”<br />
    11. 11. latam: a comparison<br />102MM<br />><br />Internet Users in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Peru, and Venezuela<br />><br />1.5MM<br />Internet Users in Uruguay & Paraguay<br />
    12. 12. latam: the state of now<br />MOBILE POPULATION<br />POPULATION<br />ONLINE POPULATION<br />
    13. 13. latam: 30% online <br />179MM<br />73%<br />34%<br />22%<br />25%<br />19%<br />South<br />America<br />North<br />America<br />Caribbean<br />Central<br />America<br />World<br />Average<br />1998: Only 1% Online<br />
    14. 14. one: quick learner<br />
    15. 15. two: highly social<br />73% use messenger<br />82% use webmail <br />60% are on a social network<br />55% upload movies/photos<br />
    16. 16. three: citizen journalist<br />415-216-3519<br />
    17. 17. four: change agent<br />
    18. 18. five: entrepreneur / innovator<br />Innovative start-ups and top talent<br />ClaseMovil<br />Drimio<br />JoinCube<br />Mercado Libre<br />Tech Hubs / Havens<br />Costa Rica<br />Chile<br />Mexico<br />
    19. 19. the web connects us<br />The web as a life changer<br />
    20. 20. the web connects us<br />The web as a mirror of the offline world <br />
    21. 21. the web connects us<br />The web as a movement<br />
    22. 22. the web connects us<br />The web as a form of expression<br />
    23. 23. a brighter, faster future <br /><ul><li>Cheaper devices + broadband + interest in social networking
    24. 24. 5% GDP growth in last 4 years
    25. 25. Unemployment rate reduced from 11% to 7.5% since ‘02
    26. 26. 50 MM people have come out of poverty since ’02</li></ul> // 883% Online User Growth 2000-2009<br />ROW: 354%<br />US: 139%<br />110%<br />95%<br />82%<br />43%<br />52%<br />Mobile Users<br />20%<br />Mobile Data Users<br />Homes with Broadband<br />2014 E<br />2008<br />
    27. 27. thank you<br />via@socialnerdia<br />