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To be quite honest, we never thought that the Facebook page of LatinoRebels.com would ever achieve a similar spike in growth and engagement when we posted the now famous Thank You, Jesús meme in January, 2012.

But this week, it happened again for the Rebeldes, and it was a combination of many things. How did we get a 366% Facebook Level of Engagement (FLOE) rate?

It was a combination of several things. Here they are:

Damn Cat Pictures: This image, showing the history of art through depictions of cats, was shared with us by a fan. So we posted it. And we got over 5,000 shares in 4 days, proving once again that social media engagement is all about cats sometimes.

BanderaGate: The Daily News ‘oops’ moment of a Cuban flag instead of a Puerto Rican flag got us some attention this week. We were the first media outlet to break the story, and our piece was quoted and attributed by several major media outlets, including the New York Times, the HuffPost, and PrimeraHora.com from Puerto Rico.

The TIME cover: We were the first outlet on Facebook to share this week’s historic TIME cover (with credit back to TIME’s main site, but two hours before TIME’s own Facebook page posted the cover) and because of that, our post got more shares that TIME’s page (2,276 for the Rebeldes, compared to 1,725 shares for TIME). Being the first to report does have its advantages.

The Rebels’ FB post (credited to TIME) got more shares this week than TIME’s own post

The Facebook page of TIME posted the same cover two hours later around 9 am EST is about 500 shares less than the one posted by Latino Rebels (with credit) at 7:50 am EST on the same day.

#YoSoy132: We were one of the first media outlets in the United States to provide English-language social media coverage of what is being billed as the Mexican Spring. As a result, about 30% of all our Facebook engagement is coming from Mexico the last few week.

Finally, this increase in Facebook engagement has also directly influenced growth our on main website, LatinoRebels.com. According to our latest analytics, we are averaging 1,000 unique visitors a day, 1,600 pageviews a day, and 78& new visitors. Spread across the year, we have already achieved over a quarter of a million visits (269,831), over 200,000 unique visitors and 388,876 pageviews. We still believe we will be able to achieve 600,000 visits, 500,000 uniques, and about 750,000 pageviews. This is with no advertising and just through SEO and our social media networks. According to our internal traffic data and third-party sites like Alexa, we can say with certainty that LatinoRebels.com is one of the top independent Latino media sites in this world.

To put this week’s growth in perspective, the Facebook page of Latino Rebels is more engaging and more popular this week than the following media brands and pages on Facebook, even though all these pages have more fans, this week Latino Rebels is without question more engaging:

UPDATE, June 17, 2012: Our Facebook community surpassed the 1 million mark in total reach and our current FLOE is over 400%.

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This was a fun little thing to discover tonight.

The Facebook page of LatinoRebels.com, a company formed by me and 20 other like-minded Rebeldes, achieved a 151% Facebook Level of Engagement (FLOE) the past few days. As of tonight, our Facebook community had 14,717 likes and 22,716 people talking about our content or sharing what we post on our Facebook wall. This is the second time this year where the LatinoRebels.com Facebook page has had more people talking about the page than people liking the page. We will take it, and we want to thank all the amazing people who have been supporting us for over a year, all our new fans, and yes, even the new trolls that are showing up to tell us to go back to Mexico.

Our current engagement and total number of people talking about our Facebook content also outdrew the Facebook pages of Telemundo and Univsion today. We have 100% total respect for these brands, but when our Facebook page has more people talking about us than the Facebook pages of Telemundo and Univision, it just proves to us that yes, there is an audience for independent content, journalism, humor, and analysis of the US Latino world. ¡GRACIAS MIL to our Facebook community!

In the next coming months, LatinoRebels.com and Latino Rebels, LLC will be sharing some news that we think will take our brand to its next stage of growth. Our latest website traffic places us as one of the top US Latino independent media pages in the world. We LOVE our supporters and our fans. And stay tuned, we will have much more to share!

Below are screen shots from Telemundo (15,510 people talking about it) and Univision (13,041) tonight. Long live alternative content and independent media. In the end, a niche can be found, but we also think that a strategic and focused use of social media can also positively impact your brand and your website. Such is the case with LatinoRebels.com. Let’s hope the trend continues.

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At the end of this post, you will find Month 4 for Latino-themed Facebook pages and their Facebook Level of Engagement (FLOE). Like we said last month:

Our intent was to offer a sampling of the thousands of Latino-themed Facebook pages out there. The list was no way near exhaustive, if you are a page that would like to be added to the list, just post your link below in the comments section and add it. Before we share the latest list, just a quick reminder that this is all about engagement. The goal is to ensure that you achieve the maximum results in the number of likes that you have on a consistent basis, since the more people are talking about you, the better your chances are at establishing real relationships and getting more interest in your online content and properties.

Let’s first check in with the Facebook page of George Takei, the KING OF FACEBOOK. His latest numbers as of this morning: 1,983,514 likes · 2,141,808 talking about this (that is a 107.9% FLOE! CRAZY 107.9%!!!).

This month, we decided to just list the Facebook Level of Engagement (FLOE) percentages. Of course, many pages have a lot of likes but imagine if you are one of those pages and you can push your FLOE over 15%? 20%? 30%? These FLOE percentages are all based on real-time stats taken this morning, June 1. We also decided to make one master list, and encourage other brands and organizations to pass on their Facebook links to us so we can add you to the June list. Why are we doing this? Here are our reasons:

  1. We want to start curating a master list of Latino-themed Facebook pages.
  2. We want to see if all these pages can achieve a consistent FLOE of 15%. Once that happens, imagine the possibilities.
  3. Don’t just work to get the numbers, once you have the numbers, curate content that will have people talking about your page. With greater numbers, you have a greater chance of engaging people and having people sharing your content on Facebook organically.
  4. This time, we added some of the bigger Latino celebrity pages since a few agencies asked us to do this. It is exciting to see that such pages has millions and millions of likes, but the fact remains: all those pages are under-performing in terms of engagement rates. Just look at George Takei’s page. He has a few million likes and his engagement rate is off the charts. Celebrity pages just don’t get it. FOLLOW TAKEI’S MODEL!
Ok, here is the June list (numbers based on page checks on June 1, 2012 from 8am-9am EST; full disclosure: Latino Rebels is my organization.)  It is very important to note that Facebook can be fickle. For example, a page might all of a sudden have 10,000 people talking about it, but then it dips down to 6,000 again. This is the case of two pages on this list, but we have since adjusted them to show the higher number of people talking about them. Nonetheless, we are just trying to capture a moment in the monthly life of a Facebook page. This is not a definitive data study, since they only way to capture that is to have pages actually submit the real hard admin data.
And like we said, Facebook is just one part of your strategy, it is not THE strategy. The key is always about your main content hub and how a place like Facebook can get you more engaged followers and loyalists.

June’s Sampling of Latino Facebook Pages and Their Facebook Level of Engagement (FLOE)

  1. Voto Latino: 54.2% (16,435 likes · 8,913 talking about this)
  2. Latino Rebels: 51.7% (14,437 likes · 7,424 talking about this)
  3. Pa’lante Latino: 40.6% (1,276 likes · 518 talking about this)
  4. SoLatina: 24.5% (58,466 likes · 14,351 talking about this)
  5. Mamiverse: 21.1% (15,221 likes · 3,215 talking about this)
  6. Sofrito for Your Soul: 20.6% (8,084 likes · 1,669 talking about this)
  7. Being Latino: 18.7% (73,445 likes · 13,768 talking about this)
  8. NBC Latino: 17.8% (2,610 likes · 465 talking about this)
  9. Being Puerto Rican: 14% (18,109 likes · 2,529 talking about this)
  10. So Mexican: 11.9% (811,059 likes · 97,160 talking about this)
  11. VOXXI: 11.2% (969 likes · 150 talking about this)
  12. HuffPost Latino Voices: 10.6% (5,949 likes · 635 talking about this)
  13. Univision News: 9.3% (5,118 likes · 481 talking about this)
  14. American Latino Museum: 8% (102,265 likes · 8,200 talking about this)
  15. Cuéntame: 7.8% (79,185 likes · 6,186 talking about this)
  16. Pocho.com: 7.8% (1,511 likes · 118 talking about this)
  17. Gozamos: 7.7% (3,777 likes · 292 talking about this)
  18. Primer impacto: 7.1% (175,842 likes · 12,562 talking about this)
  19. Toyota Latino: 6.2% (73,085 likes · 456 talking about this)
  20. Remezcla: 6.1% (10,172 likes · 621 talking about this)
  21. Despierta América: 6% (97,093 likes · 5,827 talking about this)
  22. Telemundo: 5.7% (280,810 likes · 16,068 talking about this)
  23. The Big Tino: 5.7% (72,250 likes · 4,173 talking about this)
  24. Cosmo for Latinas: 5% (5,599 likes · 282 talking about this)
  25. SpanglishBaby: 5% (4,877 likes · 245 talking about this)
  26. Latina: 4.9% (63,657 likes · 3,133 talking about this)
  27. Disney World Latino: 4.9% (42,899 likes · 2,133 talking about this)
  28. News Taco: 4.8% (4,095 likes · 199 talking about this)
  29. El Diario NY: 4.7% (4,281 likes · 204 talking about this)
  30. Mega 95.5 FM:  3.9% (12,835 likes · 503 talking about this)
  31. Calle 13: 3.8% (1,167,980 likes · 43,887 talking about this)
  32. Mun2: 3.5% (187,130 likes · 6,674 talking about this)
  33. Vitera: 3.5% (4,268 likes · 152 talking about this)
  34. Ford en español: 3.5% (1,425 likes · 51 talking about this)
  35. Univision: 3.3% (437,747 likes · 14,482 talking about this)
  36. People en español: 3.3% (154,978 likes · 5,050 talking about this)
  37. National Council of La Raza: 3.3% (17,885 likes · 583 talking about this)
  38. Immigrant Archive Project: 3.2% (11,771 likes · 377 talking about this)
  39. Fox News Latino: 3.1% (46,831 likes · 1,449 talking about this)
  40. Pitbull: 3.0% (20,450,399 likes · 619,385 talking about this)
  41. National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts: 3.1% (1,349 likes · 42 talking about this)
  42. Hispanicize: 2.8% (4,271 likes · 121 talking about this)
  43. Mexican Word of the Day: 2.5% (1,296,832 likes · 32,497 talking about this)
  44. Es el momento: 1.9% (10,984 likes · 211 talking about this)
  45. El Gordo y la Flaca: 1.8% (293,822 likes · 5,341 talking about this)
  46. Hispanically Speaking News: 1.6% (2,852 likes · 48 talking about this)
  47. Somos Verizon Fios: 1.5% (33,391 likes · 514 talking about this)
  48. Selena Gómez: 1.3% (30,785,113 likes · 404,958 talking about this)
  49. Shakira:  1.0% (51,032,701 likes · 553,213 talking about this)
  50. Cristiano Ronaldo: .009% (44,628,311 likes · 410,525 talking about this)
  51. Los Pichy Boys: .009% (12,041 likes · 117 talking about this)
  52. Latinos in Social Media: .006% (138,726 likes · 855 talking about this)

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In one year, LatinoRebels.com, an independent media page founded by 20 other individuals (including myself), has outpaced other more established mainstream Latino media pages as well as several independent Latino online pages. We agree 100% that the Latino digital space is a growing and untapped market, and the fact that several pages are beginning to hit a sweet spot when it comes to traffic and unique visitors should serve a call to brands and organizations that are trying to capitalize on a market that has become digitally savvy and influential. Conferences like LATISM and Hispanicize are taking the lead in communicating this message to the mainstream and we welcome all pages that are creating and curating what was once an underserved market.

So far, according to our own Google Analytics, LatinoRebels.com has achieved the following traffic on a shoestring budget and with a social media strategy that spans several platforms (we are active on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, G+, Tumblr, Storify, and Instragram) for our different niche markets: 303,131 visits, 239,094 unique visitors, 432,598 pageviews, and 78.79% new visitors, with 21.21% returning visitors. Since January 1, 2012, LatinoRebels has gotten 238,806 visits, 183,204 unique visitors, 342,571 pageviews, which if we average out for all of 2012, would are anticipating the following 2012 yearly traffic: 576,000 visits, 445,000 unique visitors, and 834,000 pageviews. That would result is an 900% increase in yearly traffic between 2011 and 2012. In addition, our current visitors spend an average of 1:07 minutes on our site per visit. Even though social media helps us to get more readers to our site, the goal of our company is to highlight our main site and share stories and content we feel is relevant to our community.

This past April, according to Compete.com (which works of a sample of 2 million Internet user profiles in the United States only), LatinoRebels gained more unique US visitors (12,234 measured on April 20) than the following English-language Latino media and cultural sites:: NBC Latino (12,181 UVS), Univision News (7,612 UVS), News Taco (9,929 UVS), Being Latino (10,127 UVS), Pocho.com (2,992 UVS), Voxxi (11,340 UVS), and Remezlca (7,033 UVS). Our current Compete.com ranking is 129,171 in the US and we saw a 74.50% increase in our UVS for the US in April. FYI, the most successful independent Latino media page we came across on Compete was Hispanically Speaking News with an impressive 47,384 UVS for April.

Besides Google Analytics and our own WordPress analytics (our SlimStats since May 6, 2012 have listed 99,859 hits to our site—search engines, bots, and humans combined—with 12,522 unique IPS in the span between May 6-May 19). This data slice confirms that our current unique human traffic according to our own internal stats averages about 30,000 uniques with about 50,000 pageviews (Our content and stories in March still had us at 50,000 uniques and 100,000 pageviews) per month in 2012 right now.

Another tool that partners and our clients use to measure us is Alexa. We don’t think Alexa is the end all and be all of traffic (and you need to enhance its data with your own internal data), but it is an industry standard used by many to “check you out.” As of today, May 20, 2012, our current Alexa ranking is as follows: 163,009 of all the Alexa-tracked web pages in the world and 39,698 in the US. We have accomplished this in a span on just one year and 20 days. In the last three months, our Alexa traffic has increased 150% although this past month we have seen a dip in traffic (blame it on the good spring weather).

Compared to other similar sites, LatinoRebels.com can definitely say that it is one of the top Latino media pages in the world. Here is where we stand with other sites:

MAY 20, 2012 Alexa Rankings (by GLOBAL RANKINGS)

  1. Hispanically Speaking News: 55,509 global, 13,380 US
  2. Voxxi: 105,501 global, 30,620 US
  3. Remezcla: 143,043 gloval, 26,263 US
  4. Latino Rebels: 163,009 global, 39,698 US
  5. Being Latino: 247,612 global, 48,184 US
  6. Latism: 269,282 global, 41,566 US
  7. NBC Latino: 315,389 global, 66,316 US
  8. Univision News: 324,654 global, 84,597 US
  9. Hispanicize: 330,208 global, 86,204 US
  10. Pocho.com: 481,821 global, 110,355 US
  11. News Taco: 568,719 global, 166,033 US

Again, this is just a sample of some pages that are part of our daily Latino online universe. We don’t list this ranking as a competition, but instead to put the context of where Latino Rebels stands within this world. In the end, having ALL Latino-themed pages doing well (and many are) is a great thing. However, this data confirms that Latino Rebels is getting the traffic, and even after our explosive growth of early 2012, we have been able to sustain our traffic and we have become a viable destination page for readers who are looking for US Latino content and information on a global level.

We have yet to truly dive into the product branding world, since we like our independent streak and our ability to control our own destiny, but we do welcome any dialogue with any group, brand, or organization that thinks our page’s vibe and content is of value to them. Quite frankly, if the fit is right, we will be more than happy to share stories, content, ideas, profiles, etc. that speak to the growing world of the US Latino digital space.

Finally, we believe that our group has the savvy and expertise to help anyone, both Latino-themed brands and non-Latino ones. In less than 13 months, we literally went from 0 to becoming one of the top Latino pages (and now pages) in the world. We do it a bit differently than others, but we can assure you that we will deliver. Just look at the numbers. They don’t lie.

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UPDATE: As of May 14, around 10PM EST, the Por Puerto Rico 2012 page is now up and running.

Does the 2012 campaign team for Puerto Rico’s incumbent Republican and pro-statehood governor Luis Fortuño having issues with its website? Tonight around 10:15 EST, a simple search off the governor’s Facebook site lists Por Puerto Rico 2012 as the Fortuño’s official campaign page.

Once you click on that site, you get this: “Your website is ready. This site has been successfully created and is ready for content to be added. Replace this default page with your own index page.”

The same site is referenced on the New Progressive Party’s official site, and the same thing happens. You would think that in the middle of a tough election this year, Fortuño 2012 might want to double-check where it is taking people interested in what his campaign is saying. Or maybe not.

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At the end of this post, you will find Month 3 for Latino-themed Facebook pages and their Facebook Level of Engagement (FLOE). Like we said last month:

When we first posted last month about the importance of engagement over numbers when it comes to Facebook pages for organizations and brands, our intent was to offer a sampling of the thousands of Latino-themed Facebook pages out there. The list was no way near exhaustive, and like we said last month, if you are a page that would like to be added to the list, just post your link below in the comments section and add it.

Before we share the latest list, just a quick reminder that this is all about engagement. The goal is to ensure that you achieve the maximum results in the number of likes that you have on a consistent basis, since the more people are talking about you, the better your chances are at establishing real relationships and getting more interest in your online content and properties.

Also, we should ALL strive to be like the Facebook page of George Takei, the KING OF FACEBOOK. Look at his latest numbers: 1,799,194 likes · 870,791 talking about this (that is a 48.3 FLOE).

This month, we decided to just list the Facebook Level of Engagement (FLOE) percentages. Of course, many pages have a lot of likes but imagine if you are one of those pages and you can push your FLOE over 15%? 20%? 30%? These FLOE percentages are all based on real-time stats taken this morning, May 10. We also decided to make one master list, and encourage other brands and organizations to pass on their Facebook links to us so we can add you the the June list. Why are we doing this? Here are our reasons:

  1. We want to start curating a master list of Latino-themed Facebook pages.
  2. We want to see if all these pages can achieve a consistent FLOE of 15%. Once that happens, imagine the possibilities.
  3. Don’t just work to get the numbers, once you have the numbers, curate content that will have people talking about your page. With greater numbers, you have a greater chance of engaging people and having people sharing your content on Facebook organically.
Ok, here is the May list. (Full disclosure: Latino Rebels is my organization.) And like we said, Facebook is just one part of your strategy, it is not THE strategy. The key is always about your main content hub and how a place like Facebook can get you more engaged followers and loyalists.

May’s Sampling of Latino Facebook Pages and Their Facebook Level of Engagement (FLOE)

  1. Mamiverse: 57.6%
  2. Cosmo for Latinas: 51.2%
  3. Pocho.com: 26.0%
  4. Latino Rebels: 19.6%
  5. So Mexican: 18.3% (136,000+ people talking about it)
  6. American Latino Museum: 12.3% (over 11,000 people talking about it)
  7. NBC Latino: 12.1%
  8. VOXXI: 11.2%
  9. Despierta América: 10.3% (over 9,000 people talking about it)
  10. HuffPost Latino Voices: 10.1%
  11. Being Latino: 9.9%
  12. The Big Tino: 8.3%
  13. Gozamos: 7.9%
  14. Primer impacto: 6.8% (over 11,000 people talking about it)
  15. Somos Verizon Fios: 6.7%
  16. Voto Latino: 5.8%
  17. Univision News: 5.8%
  18. Vitera: 5.8%
  19. Hispanicize: 5.3%
  20. Latina: 5%
  21. Pa’lante Latino: 5.0%
  22. Remezcla: 4.8%
  23. Cuéntame: 4.6%
  24. Es el momento: 4.5%
  25. Telemundo: 4.4% (over 11,000 people talking about it)
  26. Mun2: 4.4%
  27. Immigrant Archive Project: 4.3%
  28. News Taco: 4.1%
  29. Sofrito for Your Soul: 4.1%
  30. Univision: 3.8% (over 15,000 people talking about it)
  31. National Council of La Raza: 3.6%
  32. El Diario NY: 3.5%
  33. Hispanically Speaking News: 3.1%
  34. People en español: 2.9%
  35. Fox News Latino: 2.4%
  36. Calle 13: 2.2% (over 25,000 people talking about it)
  37. El Gordo y la Flaca: 2.1%
  38. Mexican Word of the Day: 1.5% (over 19,000 people talking about it)
  39. National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts: 1.1%
  40. Latinos in Social Media: .004%

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“Only mediocrity is safe. Get ready to be attacked, and be the best.” Paulo Coehlo

When this blog started in 2008 (you know, when Twitter was still fun and Facebook was still cool), the online world was a playground of possibilities.

Connections were made, real friendships were started, opportunities came and went.

Relationships started and relationships fizzled.

Of those fizzled relationships, some just gradually disappeared amicably and some ended nastily.

Yet many relationships endured and got even deeper. I could not even begin to list how many people I have met online (and then in real life) who are as much a part of my life now than my fanatical love of bad sports teams from Boston.

Fast forward to 2012.

Social media has gone “mainstream” and everyone is offering advice and opinions. Brands are paying attention (which is both bad and good). Now everyone has the way to “succeed” in social media, to share the WAY that will work for you. But the fact is simple: there is no RIGHT WAY, there is no ONE WAY, there is no WINNING FORMULA to succeed, no matter what you use social media for.

The ONLY TRUE WAY to find that success is this: never, never, never stop being yourself. Never ever lose your passion of why you do what you do in the first place. Be real, be true, be helpful, be giving, be authentic, and be transparent.

Which leads me to the point of this blog: don’t ever give up. For example, if the world is questioning the fact that you are just a “crab in a bucket,” go build your own bucket and find like-minded crabs. Walk away from the negative energy and move on. Use that block feature on Twitter and Facebook, it’s ok, we all use it. Stop worrying about what others say about you and just focus on what you can control. By being who you truly are, others who see you true essence will begin to show up. And they will stay. Those who don’t will never care, so why waste your time trying to win them over?

We are at a momentous moment in the world’s history, where 140 characters or one photo can impact change. The old business guard is freaking out because the one-way world (me have product/me market product/you buy product) is over. Now the business model is two-way (me have product, so?, me want you to buy product/no, because your product sucks, I am going to make my own product/ok, how can I help?). Everyone and everything, from the big Fortune 500 company to the blogger in some corner of the world, are on the same playing field.

That is the crossroads where we are at right now. There will be those who see social media as a logical extension of how business has been done for centuries. They are the mainstream, the safe ones, the ones who will tell you, “Hey, don’t rock the boat because if you do, you will bring others down with you. You’ll be a crab in a bucket.” Then there are those who see social media as the NEW WAY, and it will crush the OLD WAY eventually. Those who thought safely will wonder what happened. Those who didn’t, who created their own buckets and invited their favorite crabs, will be leading the charge in the paradigm shift.

My dear friend, Sarah Robinson (she of the original posse), wrote a piece last year that has resonated with me the last few months. Called, “Crabs in Bucket,” Sarah tells of the time she tweeted Paolo Coehlo after the great writer tweeted the quote at the top of this post. Let her words explain:

Fast forward to this morning. As I was drinking my coffee and perusing my twitter stream, and up pops this gem from @paulocoelho (He wrote The Alchemist, one of my all time favorite books): “Only mediocrity is safe. Get ready to be attacked, and be the best.”

Maybe it was the early hour. Maybe it was my post-event mushy brain. I don’t know. But the minute I read Paulo’s tweet, I thought of those crabs in a bucket. So I sent him this tweet: “I’m thinking of crabs in a bucket. They always try to pull down the one who’s figured out how to escape.”

So now I’m thinking about the Escaping Mediocrity journey with this lens. There will always be people who will subtly or not so subtly try to keep us from escaping. Why? Because our escape threatens their mediocre existence. Pulling us down, sabotaging our efforts, picking apart our brilliant ideas – all of that keeps them feeling safe. And living undisturbed mediocre lives.

So what if we added a new piece to the crab mentality picture? Imagine a crab, or a group of crabs on the other side of the bucket building a ladder to aid your escape. They managed to crawl out of the bucket in spite of all the energetic attempts to pull them backwards. Because they’ve tasted freedom and they know your struggle, they are putting energy into aiding and abetting your escape.

I believe that for those of us determined to get out of the bucket, such a group exists. It may take some time to find them, but they are there, ready throw a safety rope over the edge and pull us out.

Start listening for them. Start looking for them. They are there. Reach just a little further and they’ll meet you at the edge of the bucket.

Escape the big bucket now. Go get your own bucket and fill it with the coolest crabs you know. Together, you can change the world.

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