I just got back from Hispanicize 2012 in Miami, and I feel a little hung over from so much social networking mixed with face-to-face interaction, but I’m also energized. It was heaven for a social networking maven! Attendees walked around while typing on their – ok, our – laptops, tablets and smart phones, busy reporting about the event, and connecting with colleagues via Twitter, as we walked from one conference room to another.
Here are my highlights of the event:
Mami Dearest panel with Mamiverse CEO René Alegría
I moderated the panel Mami Dearest, which in fact ended up being an honest and down to earth presentation by René Alegría, CEO of Mamiverse, the online hub for Latina moms. We had a lot of fun conversing at Hispanicize 2012, and what I came away with from that panel in particular is that you don´t have to be a woman to run a site for Latina women.
You simply need to understand them, and be willing to give them a voice, and that is what René Alegría has done. Despite the initial flak he got from some media outlets for being a guy, and hiring a VP who has no children – the success of the site so far has proven the naysayers wrong.
That same day I found that my piece on having been a single mom on food stamps had just been published in the May issue of Redbook, both in print and online. I was able to share at the panel that the article that sparked the magazine’s interest had been published on Mamiverse. The fact that Redbook was interested in my story proves that although every ethnic or minority group may have its particularities, we also share universal struggles.
Latinovator Lunch with Emilio Estefán
I attended the Latinovator lunch in which Emilio Estefán was presented with a Latinovator award. Listening to him speak without putting on airs – as many people of a lesser caliber seem to do – was more energizing than any professional motivational speaker I know. What I took away from that experience:
Emilio Estefán on effective leadership: “Always say please and thank you to your team, always, and recognize their efforts. Listen to them.”
On being positive: After having been told that his wife Gloria would never walk again, right after her traffic accident 22 years ago, he says today: “I am a lucky man. If (a problem) is not health related, then I say, it’s not a problem.”
He admitted to being superstitious, and always setting his right foot on the floor first thing in the morning on getting up from bed. “I tell myself everything is going to be ok, just like my father told me when I was a young boy.”
On dealing with rejection: He was told he needed to change his name and his appearance in order to make it in the United States when he arrived from Cuba as a young man. He was also told he would not make it in the music business. “And then, I won 19 Grammys,” he said with a laugh.
The art of community building on Twitter Latino social media panel
This panel had Jorge “Urban Jibaro,” Eva Smith, Lynn Ponder and Ted Rubin as speakers. I had interacted with the first two often on Twitter and it was my first face-to-face with them. What I took away from this panel:
@TedRubin “Bloggers are the new media. Twitter can be used to amplify everything you’re doing”
@Ponderful “The news no longer breaks, it tweets.”
@Eva_Smith “Twitter is amazing. People’s personalities do come out in Twitter.”
Those were some of my own tweets during the event.
YO DECIDO panel with Rubén Navarrete, Emilio Sánchez and Elaine de Valle
This panel was about how the Latino media will cover the 2012 elections. VOXXI’s newest addition, renowned syndicated columnist Rubén Navarrete was interesting and fun to listen to. What I took away from this panel:
Ruben Navarrete: “I’d rather you take my job than take my soul.”
“If as a journalist you don’t go to work knowing politicians hate your guts, you might as well resign.”
“Immigration is about respect. The number one issue for Latinos is respect”
Emilio Sánchez, CEO of VOXXI: “You need to be critical and independent (as a journalist) in order to gain respect.”
Elaine de Valle: ”They (political parties) only respect us before elections. It’s our fault! We need to be involved all year.”
Networking outside the panels
Hispanizice 2012 was networking on steroids, and had the added benefit of sealing the deal of Twitter and Facebook-initiated relationships. I was able to chat in person with countless people I had interacted with on social media, interviewed, or otherwise engaged with online. There was not a minute when I wondered who to talk to or what to do.
I was impressed by the fact that it was practically unnecessary to introduce myself or for others to do so either. Our name tags or faces were presentation enough!
If you are not yet sold on the power of social media, be on the lookout for an upcoming post on this subject.
I was a latecomer to Twitter – I’ve been on it for a year now, but actively engaged only for a few months and am already reaping the benefits. I wish I had understood the power of Twitter before I dared use it! My message to you is: if you are not on the social media bandwagon, hop on it as soon as you can. Feel the hesitancy and do it anyway!
Also, get yourself to one or two social media conferences every year. I’m already looking forward to the next one.