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Latinos Logging In

17 Apr, 2007 By: Angelique Flores

Community has long been a vital component of Latino culture — not just to describe us as a group, but to denote a sense of warmth, support and unity.

In this digital age, is the warmth and unity still there? With the technology available, I can easily keep up with my family in San Diego, my boyfriend in New York and my best friend in Bangkok. Even though I miss the in-person contact, I wouldn't be able to have the daily contact with people around the world without e-mails, instant messages, and pictures and video clips on MySpace.

So where's the warmth in the online Latino community? Where is the human interaction, the comunidad Latinos have long worked to build?

At a recent industry conference I attended, a community activist asked speakers on a digital panel this very question. The panelists agreed the community is still there, it's just no longer confined to a physical space. The cultural centers of back in the day have just expanded online.

While modern communication may not have a personal touch, it hasn't destroyed the Latino community. If anything, I believe it can boost it.

There's a reason why we call Web sites such as Voy, QuePasa and MySpace “social networking sites.” Relationships are being built there. There may be even more interaction and mingling of ideas, creativity and culture than ever. What now makes it more exciting is the video component.

How else would film fans be able to interact with director Alfonso Cuar?n if it wasn't for Amazon's recent live webcast?

With 52% of online Hispanics accessing Internet on a broadband connection (vs. 50% of the general online population), surely we must be taking advantage of the speedy connections.

Gathering online will never replace gathering under one building, but the Latino community is still very much together and thriving.

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