I usually begin my New Media presentations with an aerial shot of the marches in Chicago in 2006 and state the outrageous but obvious claim: "In 2006 we marched. In 2007 we registered to vote. In 2008 we voted. And in 2009 we are mobilizing online." However, I trace my interest and passion in new media back three years earlier to 2003 when I was overseeing the Latino outreach efforts for the Clark Presidential campaign. That was the first time when I saw technology being leveraged in an innovative way that engaged Americans in a profound and meaningful way for social change. In my role, I saw a tremendous amount of opportunity in the tools and promise of this technology and what it could bring from a perspective of advocacy and empowerment for the Latino community. This was also the time of the Dean campaign and the amazing efforts of that group of technologists/anthropologists who were the predecessors to the Obama campaign, using Ganz's organizing principles learned from Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers online.
Once both campaigns closed shop, I decided to take that technology and the lessons I learned and apply them to the world of progressive faith. Over the next few years I was involved in that space through the launch of CrossLeft. A few years later I was called to serve as one of the founders for the first pro-migrant online community Promigrant.org.
Fast forward six years later and you now find me working in new media for NCLR, the largest Latino Civil Rights and advocacy organization in the US. I joined NCLR almost a year and a half ago because I saw the promise new media could bring to the civil rights movement and to the Latino community. I wanted NCLR to engage bloggers and lay people online. I saw a tremendous opportunity -- and I wanted to see the Latino community leveraging these tools to make a difference in the world much like the campaigns in years prior had. Moreover, I didn't want the Latino community left behind in this conversation.
There was a whole pipeline issue that I saw as an opportunity. On the speaking circuit there are only one or two Latinos or Latinas ever; and I've observed this across the board at PDF, SXSW, O'Reilly and even female conferences like BlogHer and unconferences like She's Geeky and the Bar Camps. It's a tremendous opportunity, especially when one considers that one out of every four children born today is Latino and in the next few years that figure is projected to jump to one in every three. We need to develop the pipeline of Latinos in social media, desperately. We need to develop the front end of that pipeline with our youth and folks who are new to the world of social media but who are doing some incredible organizing on the ground and in our community. We need to develop the pipeline with those who are in the middle and who already know a thing or two about social media but who could really benefit from a mentor and some good networking. Finally, we need to develop that pipeline for our experts who are amazingly gifted, experienced and poised to take center stage. That is where I think Latinos in Social Media comes in.
Latinos in Social Media (or #LatISM as the Twitter hash tag reads) was born from a tweet by @AnaRC (Ana Roca Castro) asking where the Latinos/Latinas in social media were. Slowly but surely, she said, we began to come out of the woodwork; and as our presence and numbers became clear the initial LatISM team was inspired to stage a conference in NYC. This first LatISM conference was the conference that I was invited to. Ana later writes through Whrrl how I drove up to Rochester to convince her to let us do something similar in DC. To that there is much truth, and when Ana finally said yes, I went to the Twitter verse to find a team. That's where I (@KetyE) found the other five Latinas. These ladies are five of the most amazing women that I have ever met in my life. They are generous, brilliant, hard working and each so unique and gifted in her own special way. Elianne (@ergeekgoddess) helped us rally the twitter troupes and worked the press. Alma (@AmericanLatina) brought her pragmatic and no-nonsense approach as well as her youth to the team. Julie (@JulieDiazAsper) managed our website and the registration of our guests. Jennifer (@meningioma) kept us on track with our minutes, took care of everything social and recruited her cousin to serve as an extra pair of hands. Sylvia (@httponline) helped us stay on track financially. Without these amazing ladies, NCLR's (@NCLR) donation of the venue, and the trust of our sponsors, LatISM DC would have never happened.
Qoobole: #latism #ldc - our objective is to connect bloggers, artists, non-profits, leaders and communities via #latism #latism about 24 hours ago from TweetChat
LatinoMovement: Attn: #latism #ldc friends. RT @LGTRG: Tuesday is the day. comp immigration reform being intro in Congress. let's get moving about 24 hours ago from UberTwitter
IGSpeaks: The insipiration and action behind the LATism movement. I'm honored to be a part! http://yfrog.com/6mxx0j #LATISM #LDC about 24 hours ago from Twitterrific
fernandovarela: RT @moliee92: creating your platform is key to having a voice said @anarc #ldc about 24 hours ago from web
eRomanMe: Rt @httponline #ldc #latism is not about cornering ourselves into a cyberghetto. Build cross cultural connections says @anarc about 24 hours ago from TinyTwitter
Javiervw: Share your voice. Don't be egoista. You are unique. #latism #ldc about 24 hours ago from TweetDeck
Angelette: @Angelette it was great meeting you at the social good session #LDC (via @moliee92) Same here! Great discussion! about 24 hours ago from Twitterrific
Javiervw: We are continuing the conversation with regular networking events and increasing the movement. @ergeekgoddess #Latism #ldc 1 day ago from TweetDeck
AmericanLatina: RT @Ramon_DeLeon: We are here to make America Stronger..How could we make our home weaker? #Latism DC #LDC 1 day ago from Echofon
moliee92: a participant said: #latism DC conference is less political, more real. We should have these type of events more often... #ldc 1 day ago from TweetChat
PhillyTeAma: Good people at #Latism-DC. Can't wait for the future of @Latism and where future conferences will take us #LDC 1 day ago from UberTwitter
tonnet: RT @JaviervW: Hispanics online are more influential because the take the conversation from online to offline. #Latism #LDC 1 day ago from web
ergeekgoddess: RT @kellymullaney: RT @Angelette: Tip: Hispanics spend more time online than their counterparts (60%). #Latism #ldc 1 day ago from TweetDeck
ergeekgoddess: RT @LeMulatreGentil: How do you all see social media encouraging multi-lingualism and multi-lingual literacy? #latism #ldc 1 day ago from TweetDeck
MiGuad98: RT @LouisPagan: Negativity in the US against Latinos is a double-edged sword...it has united Latinos together. #latism #ldc 1 day ago from UberTwitter
Javiervw: RT @LoriGama: Conferences are like clusters of intense energy of amazing people w/ passion. Thank you, friends, for being here. #latism #ldc 1 day ago from TweetDeck
gtiadvisors: RT @julito77: How do you succeed on Twitter? ABY = Always Be Yourself If you do this, people will come. #latism #ldc @LoriGama 1 day ago from TweetDeck
ergeekgoddess: @safajar tweets from the #latism #ldc conference http://twitpic.com/t8mtk 1 day ago from TweetDeck
GreatTwitTips: RT @LoriGama: New question: What are your top tips for engaging Latinos on Twitter? #ldc (invite them to the Twitte... http://bit.ly/8RwqUx 1 day ago from twitterfeed
Twit_Review: Latino Rebranded: Social Media and Latinos » LATISM Twitter Party #LDC: Subtitle: Twitter tips for newbie busin.. http://bit.ly/4uP35W 1 day ago from twitterfeed
SensataCreative: Yes! I am ready 2 start #Latism affiliate - Albuquerque. RT @AmericanLatina: We can't divide - we must unite as Latinos in US. #ldc #latism 1 day ago from HootSuite
rhonyk: RT @ergeekgoddess RT @Javiervw: Build in your strenghts, educated, awarness, speak up #Latism #ldc 1 day ago from TwitBird iPhone
hashtager: # @LoriGama @ergeekgoddes a hashtag is a marker to find the topics/ppl of interest #ldc 1 day ago from twitterfeed
AROMANDINA: RT @eRomanMe: Recs #latism #ldc it hurts to hear that people who work 3 jobs are called terrorists, ilegals, aliens 1 day ago from TweetDeck
LoriGama: RT @safajar IN 2006 we marched, in 2007 we registered to vote, in 2008 we voted, and in 2009 we are mobilizing online- @kety #LATISM #LDC 1 day ago from PeopleBrowsr
digitalsista: how many of you are saying one thing to your mom in spanish and to your kids in english? #latism #ldc #woc #p2 #fem2 1 day ago from web
LatinoMovement: #latism #ldc speakers say technology= civil rights tool. NLM agrees! Important for 2010- #immigration, Census, elections... 1 day ago from UberTwitter
Dustin_Schmidt: RT @digitalsista - what are you passionate about that is what you should be talking about in #socialmedia #latism #ldc 1 day ago from twitterfeed
kellymullaney: RT @LoriGama: #latism #ldc Associated Press reporter is talking now...if you reach a niche of people you can really make a difference. 1 day ago from TweetDeck
eRomanMe: Recs: #latism #ldc individuals have the power to compete with big media 1 day ago from TinyTwitter
Qoobole: #latism #ldc - social media also connects our Latino communities in U.S.: Mission in SF, Spanish Harlem, Little Havana in Miami, S. Bronx 1 day ago from web
LoriGama: @httponline is saying how overcome with emotion she was attending here. #latism #ldc Social Media conference in D.C. (I agree) 1 day ago from web
eRomanMe: #latism #ldc where do u see opportunity in social media to promote change?-@kety 1 day ago from TinyTwitter
JulieDiazAsper: RT @LoriGama Trends like #latism #vivaviernes are all gr8 places 2 start 2 truly understand Latino Twitter culture #LDC 1 day ago from TweetDeck
kellymullaney: RT @AnaRC: Here some Latino(a)s learning & doing Twitter 4 the first time at #LDC http://yfrog.com/1d9nwj /p>
JulieDiazAsper: RT @httponline: RT @julito77: Don't "promote" on Twitter. Be yourself..always connect w/ followers. Stay honest, give always. #ldc #latism 1 day ago from TweetDeck
eRomanMe: #latism #ldc is a conference where people really comminicate with each other. Viva nuestra gente 1 day ago from TinyTwitter
AmericanLatina: Thank you to everyone who has joined us & supported #LatISM DC!! We have learned so much from everyone! #LDC #LatISM 1 day ago from Echofon
Qoobole: RT @LatinoMovement: Hey #Latism #ldc peeps! Asking ?s now. What r best ways to measure outcomes from tweets? I use bit.ly for web click ... 1 day ago from web
moliee92: @LouisPagan now that you say that. I also think social media has added more value and purpose to my life as well...#ldc 1 day ago from web
ergeekgoddess: to our experts @julito77 @theonlinemom @john_rivera @urbanjibaro @louispagan great answers, thank you! #latism #ldc 1 day ago from TweetDeck
julito77: @ergeekgoddess A pleasure and we added video for more tips here: http://bit.ly/5k3Yxw#latism #ldc UN PLACER 1 day ago from TweetDeck
What happens next?
First and foremost we continue to organize locally, here in the DC, Virginia, Maryland area. The seis Latinas are planning a series of networking events that will continue to be both educational and fun. Secondly, the two founders and I (@AnaRC, @LouisPagan and @KetyE) are incorporating this initiative nationally and are working with other folks from across the nation who are interested in bringing the LatISM flavor to their hometowns. Ultimately, the sky is the limit. This initiative will become what it needs to be. Born out of necessity and a scarcity it has created an abundance and wealth of resources, expertise and community, in just a few months and for that I am thankful. Now let's get working on changing the world!
Follow all the tweeps from LatISM DC.
See pictures from LatISM DC.
Read other blogs/press mentions of LatISM DC.