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May 27, 2010

Blogging and social media in Latin America

3562642651_6bde2f3999Miami, USA – Yesterday’s launch of Nokia Conversaciones – the Spanish version of this blog – was also the occasion of the #NokiaTalk conference in Miami, which drew together 50 leading social media, mobile and technology bloggers from the region. For much of the day, the conference proved to be the top trending topic on Twitter for many of the countries involved and provided an interesting mix of information about mobile and social networking.

One thing that became clear very quickly was that whatever differences there are between social media in the English and Spanish speaking worlds, the similarities are very easy to see.

Reading and writing blogs is enormously popular. There are currently over 200,000 active blogs in the region. According to Eduardo Arcos, speaking at the event, there’s the view that bloggers (‘blogueros’) are beginning to pose a serious challenge to mainstream media providers, one that will be likely to lead in turn to social change.

If blogging is big, then social networking is bigger. Around 95 per cent of internet users have an account on at least one social network, making this group the most active in the world. That said, extremes of wealth mean that they are not exactly representative of their countries as a whole. In Mexico, for example, just 27.5 million of the country’s 100 million population areĀ connected.

Facebook is the largest social network and interestingly, users in the region have the largest average number of friends, at 360 – presumably, someone moderately popular might be expected to have hundreds more than that. They are also the most likely to leave you, with 81% having ‘un-friended’ someone on the network. You might have heard that the Google-owned social network Orkut is big in South America, but according to participants here, that is only the case in Brazil.

Twitter is also enormously popular. In fact, 13 per cent of all Tweets are written in Spanish, with fast-growth expected to continue for some time to come. Portuguese-speaking Brazil is one of the countries of the world producing the highest number of new twitter users, for example, with other countries in the region coming close behind.

On the mobile front, one of the most significant statistics to emerge was the number of mobile developers in the area. Around 50,000 programmers in the region focus on mobile development, said Dilip Kenchammana, Product Manager, Nokia USA, and there are 250,000 Latin American subscribers to the Forum Nokia technical forums. These latter statistics are of especial interest, we think. If you were looking for the next likely hotbed of great innovation and new ideas in mobile, then this region would not be an unreasonable place to start looking.

image credit: Daniel Zanini H.