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I was not going to respond any more about the libelous and slanderous posts being perpetuated by the anonymous Think Mexican profile, but since this coward has now begun to personally attack dear friends, I will respond. This will be brief and this will be to-the-point: Think Mexican is currently consciously libeling myself and Latino Rebels. He/She/It is acting with malice. It is simple as that. I have already reported these false posts to all the social networks that have allowed such content to be published.

By consciously displaying malice and exhibiting a desire to disparage me and my group, Think Mexican has shared the following lies:

  • TM has manipulated images and my professional resume (classless).
  • Has “proof” that Jorge Ramos paid us to publish a piece about him (hilarious).
  • Has said that Latino Rebels are in a partnership with Fox News Latino (umm, that is another Latino page).
  • Has said that we are in a marketing relationship with Latinos in Social Media (LATISM). That statement alone is beyond funny, and just sad.
  • Has “proven” that we are working for Televisa because the head of Televisa’s Twitter page is following us. BTW, we are also followed by a guy who looks like Yoda.

For further “proof,” Think Mexican is using a published ABC News profile from earlier this year. That article initially contained several factual errors. After that piece was published, I alerted the reporter, and ABC News had to revise the piece because of those factual errors. ABC News never publicly said that such revisions and corrections were made. During that time, I also expressed my extreme displeasure about how the reporter portrayed my professional career. There was a suggestion that I was a communist (silly) and that Latino Rebels was being funded by bigger clients (since I and the CEO/CFO/GM of Latino Rebels, I can tell you that such a “fact” was also false.) However, unlike Think Mexican, ABC News displayed no malice. It was just sloppy reporting, and I moved on, after letting the reporter know that the piece missed the mark.

But if you want to know, in the past three years, my clients (who bill me through Latino Rebels LLC) have been: four educational curriculum companies who hired me to develop PreK-12 programs; a science curriculum company that needed Spanish translations; a manufacturing company who uses my social media expertise as a community manager; and a major media company that retained my company to run an educational awareness campaign. I have also worked with several friends who needed help in amplifying their messages: whether it is a petition about immigration reform or a story about a young man dying at hands of Bakersfield, CA police. That is what Latino Rebels does. We share untold stories. We don’t run ads on our site and we don’t make money off the site.

What the critics don’t understand and cannot understand is that I also founded LatinoRebels.com as a collective of about 20 people. These are special people who do what they do for the love of the game. They are amazing, and they are my family. I love them, and I would defend them anytime, anywhere. We work really hard to pay our contributors, and there is no secret marketing agenda. The critics just don’t get it because they continue to try and categorize us through a traditional business model. They can’t, and it perplexes them.

Think Mexican lies, and to be honest with you, I have really have no respect for anyone who hides behind an anonymous page. The sad thing of all this is that Think Mexican is falling into the trap that the mainstream wants: keep them all divided, so they can still be conquered. I personally believe in a lot of what Think Mexican does, and respect the content, but I don’t respect personal attacks and fictitious accusations.

Think Mexican celebrates hate and is cheering for failure. I choose love and celebrate my friends.

TM

Think Mexican can call me any name in the book, and he/she/it can disagree with me all he/she/it wants, but spreading fabrications and claiming that it is TRUTH is a slippery slope. But what do you expect from an anonymous person who is actively promoting a campaign for me to fail?

Bring it.

I am Bronx and Think Mexican lacks courage and character.

Dignity comes from honesty and being real. How can an anonymous profile be real when he/she/it is anonymous? But if he/she/it wants to keep hating me, I welcome it. It only makes me stronger.

I started my career 25 years ago as a journalist,  and I  have been filing/editing/reporting new stories for the last five years through good old-fashioned reporting. My blogs have kept my love of journalism alive. Many of those stories made national news outlets. That is called hard work and dedication, and such a philosophy is not driven by money. To be honest with you, at 44 years old, I don’t do this for money. I do this because I love it.

Now I have returned to journalism. In this economy, I am blessed to have a steady job again. Such an opportunity has grounded me, and I feel like I am 23 years old, when I was young editor working for a company that was family to me. For a long time, that sense of family was lost, and the Rebels helped me find it.

This is the last thing I will ever say about this sad situation.

And if Think Mexican continues to lie, the next response won’t come from me.

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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?

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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.

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Originally published at LatinoRebels.com

Who knew? Who knew that a Public Shaming Tumblr post published late Tuesday night (June 11, 2013) would turn an 11-year-old boy from San Antonio into a national hero in less than 48 hours? Yet that is exactly what happened to Sebastien de la Cruz, whose story went from one of ignorance to one of pure joy and love. Like the Buzzfeed headline from a story written by Adrian Carasquillo (full disclosure: my brother from another mother), de la Cruz’s moment showed “a nation how to love again.”

sebastien

Less then 48 hours. That is all that it took.

Tuesday afternoon, Sebastien de la Cruz was just one of millions of talented kids out there. He had gotten national attention last year on “America’s Got Talent,” but outside of San Antonio, not many people knew about him. By Thursday night, the Twitter profile of President Obama gave him a shout out. San Antonio mayor Julián Castro was reintroducing him to the world. He was trending on Twitter. National media had descended to scoop up the interviews. He had gone global.

Welcome to the new media.

As expected, I thought a lot about the story late last night. Why this one? Why did the story of a little boy in a charro outfit become the viral story of the week? Here are my random thoughts:

  • The story had honesty and authenticity. It came from “the ground up.” Late Tuesday night, while I was monitoring the Latino Rebels Facebook site, we received three messages from fans and a post linking to the Public Shaming post. Within minutes of reading the Tumblr post, I instantly knew that this story would resonate with our incredible social media community, which is the most connected and most engaged group in the Latino media space today. This story evolved from the real feelings of people. That was it. This story spoke to relevant issues of identity and culture. It was an easy decision from our end to amplify the story, and the results proved it. In the past 48 hours, LatinoRebels.com amassed its highest level of web traffic ever. The response was so overwhelming that it crashed our web server three times. When we posted our first story early Wednesday morning, the story took off. Soon, the story was being linked by Colorlines, Reddit, Jezebel, HuffPost, Latina, Buzzfeed, CNN, Puerto Rico’s Vocero, and countless other links and online forums. LR takes pride in amplifying stories that originate from our community. Mission accomplished.
  • San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich used the story to tell the truth about this country. Even though I am a huge Knicks fan and I still can’t get over what the Spurs did to my team in the 1999 NBA Finals, my respect for Popovich reached a new level when he said the following at a press conference yesterday before Game 4: “I would like to say that I would be shocked or surprised by the comments. But given the fact that there’s still a significant element of bigotry and racism in our nation, I’m not surprised. It still plagues us, obviously. And what I was surprised by was how proud these idiots are of their ignorance, by printing their names next to their comments. [Sebastien’s] a class act. Way more mature than most his age. And as much as those comments by the idiots sadden you about your country, he makes you feel that the future could be very bright.” In a world where anti-Latino racism is raw, Popovich’s words had to be said.
  • Will we as a community continue to amplify other stories that matter? I can only hope that the reaction people generated online to support Sebastian can now turn to other stories that merit even more attention, like the case of boricua David Sal Silva (yes, Silva is half Puerto Rican), whose death at the hands of Kern County officers continues to go under the radar. If we as a community of engaged online Latinos can rally around the talent of an amazing boy, can we also do the same to share our outrage towards a death that was clearly condoned by law enforcement? Changing the paradigm about what it is to be Latino in this country right now must go beyond the feel-good celebration of a boy’s singing talents. We must approach stories like Silva’s with the same vigor and commitment as we did with Sebastian’s story.
  • The real (and sometimes uncomfortable) dialogue surrounding identity cannot stop here. Let’s face it: Sebastian’s social media story speaks to us all. It raises issues that must continue to be explored by the mainstream media, and not just be limited to the social one. de la Cruz proved that the United States is a better place when we celebrate our differences and find the commonalities within those difference. Being Latino in the U.S. doesn’t mean that you love this country any less, quite the contrary. Yet it also doesn’t mean that this country is perfect. It is not. Far from it. We are at a crossroads once again in determining what we want this nation to become. Do we want to be a country that understands that being proud of one’s roots (and for all those suggesting that Sebastien was overlooking his Mexican heritage when he said that he was American, cut the kid some slack—he’s only 11 and I seriously doubt that as he grows up to become a young man, he will shy away from his heritage) does not mean that you are “less American,” or do we want to be a country where an actual congressman freaks out about his office being “invaded” by “illegal aliens?” Sebastien’s story confirms to me that the days of Rep. Steve King (along with the Coulters and Malkins) are extremely limited, and like Popovich said, “the future could be very bright.” Yet that will take even more commitment. Are we ready as a community to continue where Sebastien de la Cruz left off? I think so, because social media has given millions of people the chance to share issues and stories that can literally move up the media landscape and become national issues that form part of our consciousness. That is where the real power lies, and to paraphrase a high-stakes poker player, “Latino Rebels is all in.”

The future is indeed ours. Now let’s keep posting, tweeting, sharing, and commenting on it.

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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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We thought it would happen, but we didn’t think it would happen three days before the end of the month, but this afternoon LatinoRebels.com (a site run and administered a dedicated group of about 20 social media influentials that is dedicated to alternative media, opinion, commentary, politics, Latino culture, history, analysis, comedy, independent journalism, blogging, music, and general mayhem) eclipsed 100,000 pageviews (and over 50,000 unique visitors) in the month of March. It is the first time our company has reached this number in a month’s worth of traffic. The 100,000 pageviews in March also eclipsed our total traffic of 2011, from when we launched the site on May 5, 2011 until December 31. Here is a screen capture from our Google Analytics:

To everyone who has read us, THANK YOU. Our latest web rankings today also pushed our Alexa ranking into the following numbers, making us one of the top (if not, the top) independently-owned Latino media websites in the US (and we won’t complain about our global ranking either). We are entering our last month before our one-year anniversary and we feel that 2012 will be another banner year. Crazy.

So how do we feel today about our latest news? Hit it, House of Pain.

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A year hasn’t even gone by since LatinoRebels.com launched on May 5, 2011 and the merry and mischievous band of social media influentials who formed together to create a site that spoke to their world through comedy, commentary, analysis, activism, politics, social media, music, and independent journalism has become one of the country’s (and now the world’s) top independent sites for US Latino content, news, issues, and just general mayhem. In just 10 months, some very cool and very amazing things have happened. Here are just a few, and yes, we will have more to share on May 5, 2012, when LatinoRebels.com turns 1:

  • As of tonight March 26, 2012, according to our Google Analytics, LatinoRebels.com has gotten over 176,000 unique vistors, with over 220,000 visits and over 317,000 pageviews. We still have about six weeks until we complete our first year online, and we feel that we are on target to complete over 250,000 uniques and 400,000 page views in our first year of existence.
  • As of March 20, 2012, we have already exceeded our total 2011 traffic. In other words, all the traffic we got from May, 2011 until December 2011 (eight months), we exceeded that number in less than three months in 2012. We have experienced about a 240% increase in our traffic in the last two months, and this week alone (March 19-March 26) we have gotten over 15,000 unique visitors and over 25,099 pageviews. In addition, with just five days left in March, we are on target to achieving 100,000 pageviews and over 50,000 unique visitors. Spread over a year, that would come out to 1.2 million pageviews and 600,000 unique visitors. Those figures were just pipe dreams, now we are in the running to achieve that goal.
  • Our current Alexa ranking for March 26, 2012 is this:

  • Compete.com is another site we use, besides our own Google Analytics and WordPress stats and this is what they list the page at as of February, 2012. According to Compete.com, we say a 12.16% increase in unique visitors from January 2012 to February 2012 and we are currently ranked 181,304 in the world, having moved up another 29,254 slots up the rankings in just one month.

  • According to Quantcast, which we activated for our site on March 9, 2012 (so we don’t have a full month’s worth of data), these are our current rankings and daily traffic for last week as of tonight:

To all who have been there with us from the very beginning, thank you. This amazing growth took some luck but it also shows that if you write good content, stay true to yourself and independent, use social media and authentic networking and relationship-building to complement your page’s goal, and curate content that you feel matters to your community, you will attract interest. We will continue to be who we are, even if we just had one reader (or even if we had no readers). However, we are not going to lie about this: this feels pretty good. The Rebeldes thank you all!

Independent journalism and content creation lives. We are proud to be Rebeldes.

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