Social Networking in Spanish Explodes

Facebook, Friendster, Hi5, and MySpace are all social networking websites that are extremely popular with youth. Users can connect with others to chat, share photos, videos, and comments through individually designed pages. Up until recently, U.S.-based web applications have primarily been in English, although users can chat, post comments, and interact in Spanish.

A 2007 article in USA Today explores how social networking sites are branching out to appeal to Spanish-speaking users. ElHood.com, for example, caters to those interested in music in Spanish.

One user and artist mentions the advantages that ElHood has over other sites with a broader audience:

ElHood is sort of a bilingual MySpace promoting the latest in Latin music, and for Miami-based 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.

“A lot of Latin artists are plugged in,” Monterrosa said. “So if you want to find them it’s easy. If you go to sites like MySpace, you have to go through all sorts of genres, types of music, and languages.”

The article discusses how sites that are successful in reaching out to Latinos both in and outside of the U.S. take into consideration not only language, but other cultural factors when designing their sites.

In more recent news, Facebook, a social networking site originally developed to connect with people who study at the same university or college, has begun an international translation effort. Facebook users are the ones responsible for the translations, but not just any translation into Spanish or French will suffice. The site has a voting system to ensure that only the best translations will make it into the complete version, set to be released in March.

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