Past NYC mayor David Dinkins adjusted the picture of the City from “a melting pot” to “a beautiful mosaic” where each ethnicity is an important facet to the municipal jewel. Similarly, the US is a mosaic. How Americans interact with and on the Web is particular to the demographic.
The Nielson Co. and the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) issued The Power of the African American Consumer, September 22, 2011 because at 43 million people, African Americans are the US largest racial minority and African American buying power is expected to reach $1.1 trillion by 2015. Therefore studying their Web and mobile usage is crucial to revenue from advertising billings and product/service purchases. The report data include:
• There are 23.9 million active African American Internet users.
• 33% own a smartphone (By 4th quarter 2011, the number increased to 50%).
• African Americans use more than double the amount of mobile voice minutes compared to whites (1,298 minutes per v.606).
• July 2011, 76% had visited a social networking or blog site.
• 44% are more likely to take an online class.
• 30% are more likely to visit Twitter and download more movies via the Internet than other ethnic communities
The second major US minority group—said to soon eclipse the US black population—is Latinos. These two populations have converging and diverging wired and mobile experiences. Susan Fox for The Pew Internet & American Life Project uncovered 35% of US adults own a smartphone of which 25% of that share use the phone as their main Internet entry route. This practice is high for Black and Latino adults. Further, “Black and Latino cellphone owners are more likely than whites to send a high volume of text messages” (Health Technology and Communities, February 16, 2012).
Jose Marquez-Leon, Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association (LISTA) National President and CEO, earlier in June shared with this writer the following data:
• 93% of US Latinos use a mobile phone regularly.
• Mobile apps are especially popular with Latinos 18-29, while Instagram is particularly appealing to Blacks.
Marquez-Leon is far more concerned about to what extent Latinos and African Americans are producers of apps, Web content, and hardware than studies on behavior. “I’m sure we can find many reports and research showing how Latinos and African Americans are on FB, Twitter and YouTube but, “posits Marquez-Leon, “finding research on more important issues [such] as the engineering of applications by Latinos and African Americans …is difficult to find. We need to see more reports with substance [rather] than fluff.”