In honor of Hispanic Heritage month, I interviewed some of the top leaders in the Latinos In Social Media movement (LATISM.org). I’m very honored and grateful to those who could participate . Come back every other day to see who else I interviewed. We kick off with a co-founder of LATISM, Louis Pagan (Twitter: @LouisPagan) Thanks for reading.
Where did you grow up and how did your upbringing and environment contribute to the person you are today?
I grew up in the Bronx, NY. Growing up poor with my brother and mother I had no choice, but to look up. So, being stubborn by nature combined with an outlook for improvement has impacted me greatly and is the cause for most of what I do today.
Who were your role models as you were growing up and how did they affect you?
I’m going to admit what many men do not, and that is I read a lot of comic books and watched a lot of sci-fi. So, superheroes and major character roles on TV were my heroes. That may be a little funny or immature to some, but there is a very positive impact.
Superman, Spiderman, Batman, The X-man, Captain Kirk of Star Trek, were individuals who fought the villain, and served as champions for the common person. Even the best-selling author Stephen King, used this concept and tells the stories of victims, who fights back and wins against insurmountable odds.
In a big way, social media is just like this. It gives the average person with bold ambitions and drive, the tools to leverage themselves to compete with larger entities and gives them the capacity to move toward greater ideas.
At what point in life did you realize your inner strength and fortitude?
Sometime in high-school into college, I realized my passion for writing and reading. I wrote songs and poetry; read about great people and their work; studied other cultures and religions. Upon realizing that there were a small percentage of people who walked down this road I felt fulfilled and strengthened.
Regarding the recent study that concluded that a 41% dropout rate among high school Latinas is happening in the U.S., what do you think it will take for our country and /or our education system to solve this crisis?
Engagement. Each school, district or city should identify what their specific challenges are in relation to educating students. Then, custom programs, classes or workshops can be made available to address solutions and give the tools students need to combat problematic topics.
Additionally, students should be exposed to opinions and views outside their own system. Through social media a Program can connect these students and encourage them to communicate and ask the advice of their peers.
There would be collaboration on two levels. One by provided by workshops on specific issues, and the other being a social media pen pal program.
My wife is a teacher, her mother a dean, and father a retired principal who is still involved in the city schools. It would be interesting to get their input on any and all ideas.
Why did you launch your business?
I’ve been involved in social media for over 6 years. Although I have a number of grass roots accomplishments, I decided to diversify and start an LLC. The name of my business is Lat3G Media. It stands for Latino 3rd Generation. Third generation Latinos are mostly English speaking, professional and acculturated, which happens to best describe me.
Lat3G Media develops broad concepts, event planning, promotion, media-content production/distribution and social media relevant to the Latino market. You can contact me at “info” @ followed by domain name (lat3gmedia.com)
Life is about choices. I launched my business to take more control over my life, so that I don’t have anyone taking most of my choices away. I like independence and feel my business can give me more freedom.
What is your UVP (Uniqe Value Propisition)?
Identifying trends; remaining ahead of the curve; quitting before it’s over.
Describe your ideal client or project or give one or two case studies so that people can clearly understand how you’ve helped clients:
I am not at liberty to disclose some projects at the present time, so…
My ideal project is one that makes a positive impact in the world we live in. Latinos In Social Media (LATISM) gives us this opportunity by helping others and engaging our fellow brothers and sisters to boldly step forth toward media literacy and solidarity.
LATISM is grass-roots, is altruistic and genuine.
What other services does your company provide?
Another service is that I promote other people’s work to get them publicized. I guess that describes what an agent does.
How does your Latino heritage help you achieve your goals?
I’m going to be transparent here. I did not grow up with a traditional Latino culture. I grew up in a Latino-urban culture. We played handball, went to Orchard beach in the Bronx, listened to freestyle, and roller skated. Back then, in the Bronx you were not Latino, but Puerto Rican.
I ‘rediscovered’ my Latino-ness later through social media, which lead me to publish my first blog – LatinoPundit.com – representing Latinos in the blogosphere and pushing the envelope of diversity along with others online to cause change at some major sites.
Since you are a founder of LATISM, can you tell us what is your vision for LATISM?
The purpose of Latinos In Social Media (LATISM) is to engage Latinos online and encourage media literacy through social media. We support all endeavors in social media for individuals, companies and organizations alike.
That being said, my vision is for LATISM to be used as a vehicle toward solidarity in personal or professional endeavors. Be you a writer, an activist, a multi-media content producer, a marketer, a business person, an organization, or you just like social media and want to talk and network, LATISM will foster your goals. The other side of this coin is LATISM provides the opportunity for businesses or others who want to understand or reach this community.
As far as expansion, I see LATISM ‘legs’ in cities, states and internationally supporting all Latinos in social media, and those who want to engage Latinos.
What role are you fulfilling within the LATISM group?
Let’s keep this fun:
When someone looks at LATISM, I want them to see themselves reflected back. In order to be interested and to pursue anything, an individual must feel they can take away something and benefit in some way. This concept has been identified by way of promoting our social media conference tour during Hispanic Heritage month.
Fluidity of communication and purpose between the various levels of structure and outreach methods must be maintained. LATISM must remain multifaceted while simultaneously reaching bloggers and Facebookers, as well as CEOs and marketing professionals, so that dialogue and participation is all-inclusive.
I concern myself with what needs to be done to make certain things ‘stick;’ how to market ourselves; how we appear externally; how to constantly replenish ourselves in order to remain exciting and cutting edge.
That’s what happily engulfs me.
What would you like to say to companies who are thinking of marketing to Latina(o)s/Hispanics but aren’t sure of what to do first?
Do some research. We love family.
Go to those who know what to do.
Contact any LatISM professional via our directory of services http://latism.us/directory/?l=view
What’s the biggest mistake companies make when attempting to enter into marketing to Hispanics/Latinos/possibly Brazilians?
One of the biggest mistake is not understanding some cultural factors. Look at Burger King’s Europe ad: http://bit.ly/139Nnm The country of Mexico protested it as an insult.
Another mistake is thinking all Latinos are the same. We are not; we are diverse. For instance, if you are selling Puerto Rican pasteles and target older Puerto Ricans, but are playing bachata in the background you’ve got a problem. If you don’t understand what just happened, maybe you need a Latino marketing consultant.
What would you like people to remember about you after you’ve passed on (many, many years from now)?
It’s tempting to want to be remembered. But in the end, is it really about your message and not at all about you?
I’ve been blessed to express myself through words. Bringing down barriers and spreading ideas through new media is what I advocate. Compared to that, I am a mere speck…I am not important.