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Op-Ed: Social media, are we there yet?

Guest columnist, Gigi de Mier, APR, Fellow PRSA

I watch in awe as my almost 2-year-old granddaughter turns on my iPad and opens her folder to talk to Tom Cat, sing with Elmo or color monsters and clowns with her fingers.

This child of the “Homeland Generation” — as the Harvard Business Review has named those born roughly between 2005-2025 — is the latest arrival in this four-generation family that includes boomers, X’ers and Millenials, first called Gen Y. I find it amusing to observe how each one of us relates to technology according to what we know longest and best, and rely on for our work and lives.

It’s certainly not a big deal if I leave my cell phone at home, while for my kids this would be a definite tragedy.  Much to their chagrin, I would much rather call than text, and it’s not imperative that everyone has an e-mail; I can still fax.

I can’t say I appreciate the exquisiteness of high definition TV or prefer movies in 3-D, the polar opposite of my children. Nevertheless, in this digital era to which we all belong, social media in Puerto Rico is — in my opinion — the generational technological equalizer.

Most of us use Facebook to some extent, laugh at the latest YouTube frenzy and network on LinkedIn, but not one of my kids Tweets.

Surprisingly, on an island that is usually an early adopter of any technological device, social media has yet to explode.

This almost 10-year-old, people-empowering medium has been acutely undervalued by the private sector. Yes, there are some local organizations with excellent interactive Web pages, the news media is doing an incredible job with their multimedia platforms and, most recently, a couple of excellent business blogs have made an appearance.

Are we there yet? Barely.  Do we need to be? Just ask Wael Ghonim, the young marketing executive who started an Egyptian revolution with the click of a mouse.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 30 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.

1 Comment

  1. Joseph Martinez November 15, 2011

    Excellent piece! I could not agree more with Gigi’s observations. Puerto Rico has been rather slow in harnessing the power of the Internet and social media. A study conducted by international PR firm Burson-Marsteller in Latin America, shows that we are the laggards in the region when it comes to use of social media among local private companies. (http://www.relacionespublicaspr.com/2010/10/puerto-rico-rezagado-en-el-uso-de-los.html). Most worrisome is the fact that universities have a lot catching up to do, since they lack courses in social media, blogging, web writing, web analytics and other related topics. We need to move… fast!


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