tech culture and cultural techs

an article in cnn.com's technology section caught my eye this morning:
Social-networking sites link Hispanic youth (posted 4.27.07)

in brief, the article explores the growth of social networking sites aimed at a spanish speaking, self-identified as latin and/or hispanic audience such as elhood.com and vostu. according to the article, "ElHood is sort of a bilingual MySpace promoting the latest in Latin music, and for Miami-based [Indie rocker Eric] Monterrosa, it has become a personal and professional lifeline. It is also the latest in a wave of Hispanic social-networking sites building links across the U.S., Latin America and Spain, all hoping to capture coveted advertising dollars."

other excerpts from the article that have me thinking and wondering about the intersections (and working definitions) of technology, culture, and youth:
  • "About 56 percent of Hispanics in the United States use the Internet, compared with 71 percent of non-Hispanic whites and 60 percent of non-Hispanic blacks, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project. But the number of Hispanics online jumps to 67 percent among 18- to 27-year-olds -- the group most likely to visit social-networking sites and one coveted by advertisers."
  • Another site, Vostu.com, presents itself as an alternative to Facebook.com, where students post profiles of themselves visible to a mini-network of their college or high school classmates. ... Dan Kafie, the 24-year-old Honduran native who co-founded Vostu, believes his site can compete with the larger ones because it's specially tailored to the needs of a relatively small but affluent group. ... "There's similar types of sites, but they don't capture the cultural subtleties," Kafie said. "We thought there's an opportunity."
  • But are technology, culture and language enough to draw people away from MySpace, Facebook or Google Inc.'s YouTube?
  • "More young people come to this country and don't have a family," Monterrosa said. "They are here to strive or to study and they need contacts. They don't have money to go to shows or clubs, but they can reach out to people who also like the same things," he said. As for those in Latin America, they can connect with music and youth scenes that are difficult to find outside the big cities.
  • "The youth, they want it to be fast. They want it to be hip, and they want to see themselves in it -- but not just themselves,"

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