By Margaret Rock
The Hispanic population’s embrace of mobile technology is increasing community awareness and organization of specific political issues, which may catapult the group to the political forefront in the upcoming election cycle.
A survey last year by Pew Research found that more than 87 percent of English-speaking U.S. Hispanics owned a cell phone, as opposed to 80 percent of non-Hispanic whites, and 53 percent of them used mobile devices to access the Internet, compared to 33 percent of non-Hispanics. And, compared to the general U.S. population, Hispanics reportedly use their mobile phones more often and take advantage or more features on the devices.
“The use of cell phones builds upon the cultural affinity for close connections and opens the way for organized political and social action,” said a recently published report, “Connected Hispanics and Civic Engagement,” published by the Hispanic Institute, or HI.
The growing mobile networks centered on civic engagement comprise of “feature phones,” a less expensive smartphone which still has text messaging, e-mail, mobile web and social media features, as well as smartphones.