The Hispanic social media revolution: Spanish-language healthcare pages on Facebook introduction

Nicole St. Germaine

Abstract


Although many Hispanics living in the United States do not have a regular health care provider, they are getting healthcare information from the media. The internet is increasingly becoming the place where Hispanics get healthcare information. The number of Hispanics, both Spanish and English speaking, who go online is increasing every year. However, the Hispanic population as a whole is more likely to view videos online and to browse the internet from their mobile phones. The use of social media sites by Hispanics is also growing rapidly. Hispanics look for healthcare information on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. The Mayo Clinic and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are two organizations that recently developed a Spanish-language version of their Facebook pages. I used comparative analysis to analyze the ways in which Spanish-speaking Hispanics interacted with the pages compared to the English versions of the sites, as well as compared them with Vida y Salud, a Spanish-language healthcare page that does not have an English-language parent page. I also compared the localization efforts of the organizations to reach the Spanish-speaking Hispanic audience. The results revealed that, on the whole, Spanish-speakers did not tend to engage with the social media pages more than English speakers. However, Spanish-speakers tend to leave more user-generated comments on the pages than did English-speakers. There appeared to be little conscious localization effort on the part of either the Mayo Clinic or the CDC, which may explain the moderate level of user engagement with the administrator-generated posts on the Spanish language pages. Adjusting their efforts to address this audience, such as presenting more information in videos or fotonovelas, as well as presenting more human interest stories and adjusting the number and types of graphics for a Spanish-speaking Hispanic audience may also increase user participation on the Spanish-language social media pages.

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