Something’s Coming: Why I Am Joining Al Jazeera America’s “The Stream”

Exactly two years ago today, while I was covering the latest from Puerto Rico, several of my friends shared a report about the island that, according to them, was a “must watch.” It was a segment called “Puerto Rico: The fiscal experiment,” produced by Al Jazeera. To this day, it is still one of the most comprehensive reports I have ever seen about Puerto Rico’s current situation. The piece was journalism at its best: tell the story, include different points of view, and invite viewers to draw their own conclusions.

I was highly impressed, and it was the first time I had ever really noticed the quality of news content Al Jazeera was producing in English.

Fast forward to the end of 2012. I was in New York City hanging with friends in lower Manhattan when I got a call from Washington, D.C. It was an Al Jazeera English producer for a show called “The Stream.” Would I like to be a guest next week to talk about Puerto Rico’s social media activism and the issues surrounding the “La Comay” controversy?

miazbiogybkeyd5nnlhg

Even though my schedule couldn’t accommodate the invite, I was even more impressed that Al Jazeera English was dedicating time to a story that deeply connected with me and millions of others in the Latino online space. Ever since then, I was hooked to the “The Stream.” The combination of conversation and social media was powerful. Here was the new media “60 Minutes.” I soon found out that many of my friends also loved the show, as well as a huge part of our Latino Rebels community.

This Monday, I start my new job as a Digital Producer for “The Stream.” Having met the show’s core staff and leadership, this decision was an exciting one for me, as well as an easy one to make. Simply stated, “The Stream” fully understands the power of the new media. For example, tomorrow they are running an #OpenEditorial for content and ideas. They believe in amplifying stories that come from the ground up, a belief I have been embracing ever since I started tweeting in 2008 and founded LatinoRebels.com in 2011.

Although the Rebeldes will always be with me, my new position at “The Stream” allows me to expand my talents at a ground-breaking award-winning news show I believe is the future of news media.

And no, I won’t be disappearing from the online world. Quite the contrary. I will do my best to get the stories that matter to “The Stream.” If you ever have a story that you think needs attention, please do not hesitate to contact me via Twitter or Facebook. You know where to find me.

This is going to be an incredible adventure. Something’s coming, for sure.

VIDEO: “Yo quiero Fay Boo”

It’s Friday night, and time for a little Comedy Time Latino.

facebook

Who’s up for a little Fay Boo? Here is Rick Izquieta.

Why Does Facebook Say Yes to a TIME Breastfeeding Cover But No to Other Breastfeeding Images?

So, by now, you have seen it. The "famous" TIME magazine cover. It was all over the social web. Everyone was posting it and everyone was talking about it.

When we posted it last Friday on our Facebook site, our community commented and we had a great discussion about cultural and social norms. Many people saw the beauty of the cover while others just saw TIME just being TIME and privilege being privilege.

Yesterday for Mother's Day, some of us Rebeldes posted a few other photos of indigenous women breastfeeding their child. The pictures were real, authentic and beautiful. The point was that all mothers are nurturing. All mothers represent love. We don't need a TIME cover to justify it or tell us what we think about nurture and love. Well, after a few hours, over 200 likes and about 50 shares, the photos we posted were gone, but the TIME cover was still up. The photos we posted were not only gone from our wall but on the walls of individuals as well. Guess Facebook deemed the photos "inappropriate" or someone reported us.

Nonetheless, when we said the following tonight on our Facebook site

So after getting such a response from others, we went ahead and posted another picture that we loved, and so does our community:

No mames, Facebook.

Wha??? 477% Facebook Engagement Is Crazy Fun

To EVERYONE who has posted, shared, commented (both good and bad) about THE IMMIGRATION PICTURE THAT SET FACEBOOK ON FIRE, ¡gracias!

As of this morning, our new Facebook analytics came through. Guess that picture resonated with people since our page experienced a 477% growth in engagement between fans and people who are talking about us, meaning that 4 times more people on Facebook are taking about our page than we have fans. The numbers say it quite clearly: 

 

BREAKING UPDATE AS OF 4:55 PM EST:

 

 

It gets even crazier when you get a glance of our backoffice. A weekly increasy of 6917%.

To the community that made this photo gop viral, thank you!

 

Les invitamos a la fiesta de los Latino Rebels

Cuando lanzamos esta página el 5 de mayo de 2011, publicamos la siguiente declaración que nos gustaría compartir ya que la última semana ha sido un viaje emocionante de visitas nuevas, nuevos lectores, nuevos enlaces y nuevas conexiones.

Nuestra misión no ha cambiado pero cuando las personas llegan tarde a la fiesta, es posible que hayan perdido toda la actividad que ha sucedido antes de llegar.

En 48 horas, esta foto recibió más de 30,000 LIKES en FACEBOOK

Por lo tanto, como un servicio a nuestros nuevos lectores que han encontrado esta página por una broma tonta sobre los narcos o por una foto que se compartió más de 30 mil veces en Facebook en sólo 48 horas, les queremos decir lo siguiente:

Los Latino Rebels son un grupo de activistas latinos, autores, blogueros, comediantes, artistas, cineastas, y admiradores de la red social. Utilizamos la sátira, comedia, análisis, entrevistas en video, escritos y películas para educar a la gente sobre la vida de la población latina de EE.UU. en el siglo 21. A través de nuestro contenido, vamos a criticar a los “patriotas” que usen la ignorancia y el odio para difundir mentiras sobre los latinos que viven en nuestro país. Vamos a matar estereotipos con humor, comentarios, compasión y tal vez un fuerte GRITO DE QUESO. Apreciamos las opiniones de todos, las buenas y las malas. Pero recuerde, una vez que estén con los Latino Rebels, el viaje será un poco loquito y controversial. ¡ORALE! ¡WEPA! ¡COÑO!
 
Empezamos esta empresa de contenido con un grupo de amigos que representan los siguientes países: Estados Unidos, México, Puerto Rico, Cuba, República Dominicana, Venezuela, Perú y España. Vivimos en Nueva York, Chicago, San Francisco, Phoenix, Kansas City, Miami, Boston, Orlando, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Ciudad de México, San Juan y Ponce. Somos todos profesionales que viven en los Estados Unidos, México o Puerto Rico. Estábamos convencidos de que podemos usar medios alternativos de comunicación para presentar las historias de un grupo demográfico olvidado, libre de la influencia de los medios de comunicación principales, sin el control de otras marcas, y sin anuncios pagados. Nos habíamos comprometido a pagar a nuestros colaboradores, y como con cualquier empresa nueva, a veces no pagamos a tiempo, pero sí pagamos por la creación de contenido. Eso es importante para nosotros como profesionales.
 
Como resultado de nuestro pequeño experimento, hemos logrado mucho en sólo nueve meses. Algunos de nuestros más destacados:
 
  • ¡Tenemos los mejores fans, seguidores y lectores del mundo! Entendemos perfectamente que la Internet está llena de tantas páginas y tantas cosas, pero estamos eternamente agradecidos por todos nuestros lectores. Ustedes nos hacen mejores. Y ¿saben qué? Cuando las cosas se ponen un poco loco, su apoyo y confianza en nosotros es maravilloso.
  • Nuestras historias han aparecido en muchas cadenas establecidas de la Internet, incluyendo TheHuffPost, El Nuevo Día, Fox News Latino, y el Drudge Report. Todas estas historias que se estas cadenas publicaron procedían de sugerencias de nuestros usuarios o por contenido generado por el usuarios. ¡Viva el periodismo ciudadano. ¡Funciona!
  • En sólo nueve meses, nuestra red global ha producido más de 500 mil visitas a través de todas nuestras cadenas de contenido. Ahora somos uno de las páginas latinas más populares en los Estados Unidos, así como una de las más atractivas (ver nuestro Facebook, nos encanta hablar con todo nuestros fans, y en Twitter, donde somos un adictos twittereanos) . Así que, básicamente, en sólo 9 meses, estamos en el percentil superior de toda las páginas web en el mundo.
  • Así que para aquellos que piensan que solamente enfocamos en bromas tontas sobre los narcos o en postear muchas veces cada día en nuestro Facebook (son unos spammers, etc. etc.), les invitamos a pasar un rato con nosotros. Lean algunos de nuestros artículos. Nos gusta la diversión y conocer cualquier persona que esté en nuestra red, sí, incluso los que nos dicen que nos larguemos de EE.UU. y regresemos a México.
 
Seguiremos produciendo contenido que se considere importante para los lectores que nos den el contenido y el contenido que es importante para nosotros. Siempre hemos dicho que está página no es para todos, pero si les gusta lo que han visto, ¡gracias! Ojalá que podamos crecer.
 
Nunca olvidaremos que la Internet no es el único lugar para realizar un impacto concreto en este mundo, pero seguro que es un gran lugar para juntar personas con ideas en común, para que juntos grandes cosas puedan suceder tanto en línea como en en la vida real.
 
Mientras tanto, cualquier página o individuo que esté interesado en compartir sus ideas, blogs, poemas, fotos, videos, discursos, felicitaciones o críticas, que se sienta libre aquí. Estamos comprometidos a responder a tantas personas como sea posible. Estamos convencidos de que las respuestas coherentes y respetuosas con perfiles en línea es la única manera de actuar. ¡No escondan sus opiniones! Queremos compartir su mundo con nuestros lectores.
 
En cuanto a los críticos que nos llaman locos y nos dicen que son unos “spammers,” (no les estamos vendiendo nada), les invitamos a ver este video. Claro que no somos Picasso y Dylan, pero sí somos unos locos y eso nos encanta.
 
 

Latino Rebels Founder Julio Ricardo Varela Censored from Puerto Rican Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi’s Public Facebook Page

Puerto Rican Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi

Word out of Puerto Rico is that the local media is now starting to report and get comments from the players involved in a bizarre Facebook incident that had the office of Puerto Rican Resident Commissioner Pedro Peirluisi—a non-voting member of the US House of Representatives—block and censor LatinoRebels.com founder Julio Ricardo Varela, an active Puerto Rican blogger who does not favor Pierluisi's stance of Puerto Rican statehood.

Julio Ricardo Varela (@julito77), founder of LatinoRebels.com

Varela blogged about this incident over the weekend on his own personal blog JulioRVarela.com, one of the top Puerto Rican issues and politics sites in the world. In that blog, Varela shared an audio recording of a phone conversation he had with Pierluisi's office, where the spokesperson admits that they did indeed censor Varela from the Resident Commissioner's public and official Facebook page, but they do not have any evidence as to why he has censored. The blocking period occurred during the time when President Obama was visiting Puerto Rico. Varela found out he was blocked from the site when he wanted to post a video link that showed Puerto Rican Independentista supporters burning a US Flag. That video has now over 60,000 views and over 500 comments, mostly controversial ones that generally insult those "spic Puerto Ricans living on welfare."

In addition, two of the top bloggers in Puerto Rico, Raúl Colón of RaulColon.net and Michael Castro of Poder5, have both written blogs criticizing the Resident Commissioner's social media ban. Colón also let his fellow Rebels know that the Puerto Rican press is now asking him questions about this incident, as well as taking with others involved. The press has yet to contact Varela.