Rules of Engagement

HuffcommentOne of the best things about writing in a public forum is the instant feedback. I can create a blog post that may or may not create a dialogue between me and the reader. I have seen more successful blogs in which the audience just talk amongst themselves. Media outlets have adopted this model that allows their readers to talk about any article. This can be both good and bad.

Most blogging sites will tell you that a great way to build up readership is to connect and be active with your readers. Several ways of doing that is to have questions on your blog and respond to any comments you may receive. Now, I am one who tries to be very engaging when I can, however, I don’t get many comment on my blog posts (and I am ok with that). There’s also a lot to be said about post on other people’s blogs. I believe that if you’re going to post a comment anywhere..then do not to it anonymously. Own up to your comments and people will be willing to read more about you.

I think that engaging folks can be a double edged sword that has to be wielded correctly. While there may be people who may like something I have written, there are people who don’t. Most people tend to not voice their opinion either way, but those who do will have no problem with praise or disapproval. None of these bother me because it is always good to know that for good or bad, they read what was posted. However, there are people who comment for the sake of commenting. They may say things to get s response and those are the people that need to be treated with caution.

It’s one thing to be accosted on Twitter because I can choose to just ignore very easily, but when someone writes a negative response on a blog I have posted then it becomes very hard to ignore. Negativity is not someone disagreeing with me, it is when some crosses a line. That is why I also try make a habit of just responding to everyone that may comment on this blog. However, with the Huffington Post having much more readership, responding to someone can be tricky because some people just want to say something in order to get a response.

So I think the a rule of thumb, for me, is to not be particularly agitated or excited when responding to someone. That is hard for me because I can be a very emotional person that goes on either side of the gauge. Secondly, keeping the length of a response to as short as possible is key. Think about it, if I wrote 700+ words on something, I’m pretty sure you know where I stand on something, so there is reason to go into another blog type of reply. You don’t want to be the person in any comment section that has 3-5 paragraphs because it is not getting read.

I also try not to belittle anyone I’m interacting with, even if they are trying to belittle me. Let’s face it, if anyone come on to my blog and tries to belittle me, I’ll probably come out swinging and make them look like an idiot. However, the more public the forum, the more careful one needs to be. Free Speech allows us to say anything we want and not go to jail for it, however, public opinion can really make anyone wish they just stayed quiet.

The fact of the matter is a small amount of engagement is better than none. I think that generally, in the blogging world, the more active a person is the more successful they are going to be.

The Cultivation of My Brand


This past week I’ve been realized one thing, I am cultivating a brand. I started doing this years ago without realizing it. Once I knew what I wanted to do, I tried my hardest to be as consistent as possible.

I will admit that I had no idea exactly what I was doing but I figured being recognized under one screen name would be the best possible thing for me. This way when someone was looking for my blog they would always be able to find it. That is why my twitter and tumblr are the same. If you play me in world with friends or any game on the iphone, you will know how to find me: latinegro.

It is also that consistency that has also allowed me to have the same message. While, this particular blog tends to get personal at times. I still, for the most part, try to advocate for the recognition of Afro Latinos and to a much larger extent, Latinos. Then there is my overall feeling on the fight against racism and oppression that I have been so out spoken about. I also believe in education and easy access to it. I think that it is our responsibility to help our youth get a better education.10240G Brand Yourself

With that being said, I realize that I never mentioned how I am the president of the Latino Alumni Network of Syracuse University (LANSU). This is something that I’m very proud of but I don’t feel the need to brag about it. Quite simply, there is a lot of work to do to get this organization to where I envision it. Last week, we had our first collaborative event of 2013 that was very coincidentally called: Branding Yourself in the Global Marketplace.

While I also knew about branding myself, It was very interesting to see other people’s opinion on it. It made me reenforce what I had done the week prior to all this, which was using my ability to write to create a theme for LANSU that needs to be solidified. Quite frankly, I have never been comfortable asking for money. Even when I was a telemarketer for brief time in the late 90’s, I had trouble asking for money and that was my job! But, I have a passion for my former students at SU and for fellow alumni. My job is to bridge that gap through networking at the fulfillment of the LANSU Scholarship Fund.

I had spent the first few weeks of January really trying to get LANSU’s name out there through twitter, facebook, and Linkedin. I was in a very long meeting with Syracuse University to get what I need established. This almost lead me to forget the other side of my brand: The Latinegr@s Project. This was something that I figured was unforgivable in my book especially with Black History Month. I wanted to create a ripple in the water in a way that I have never done before.

The last time I wrote for The Huffington Post was in July of 2012. It had been weighing on me that I have access to this awesome medium and I was not taking advantage of it. While I had planned on writing my final SU based article in November, there was something about it that just fell through. It wasn’t strong enough.

People ask me all the time “How did you get to write for the Huffington Post?” Well, the answer is networking. I got lucky that I knew someone that knew someone that works for them. When the call went out for new bloggers, my name was given and I was contacted. This is one of those times when being a mentor to a fabulous person like Victoria Chan pays off. I will always be grateful for her because of this and I will always make sure I am there for her when she needs advice.

I was asked to only write about College and Higher Education topics, which I did and struggled with. I have a personal copy editor (my girlfriend) who tears my articles up, demanding I be more clear and concise. I noticed after the 3rd article I posted that there was way for me to submit a blog through Latino Voices (a branch of the Huff). I kept that in the back of my mind knowing that I will have to post about Afro Latinos one day and hopefully they will accept this.

Fast forward to last Friday. As busy as I was, I was debating on if I should even write something or wait until Monday. Most times, I would write a post and it would take a day for me to edit it and go back and forth with how good it may or may not be. I just decided to write something during my lunch hour. It was something really quick and straight forward that was barely 700 words if that. I fact checked it and sent it to my beautiful girlfriend to destroy (I tend to be vague with a lot of typos). She emailed it back with two edits! I was shocked. Later she would tell me that it was the most straight forward article I have written.

I submitted it to Latino Voices around 3pm. I was thinking that, if they do post this, it wont be until Monday. I was almost mad at myself about that because I had waited so long to write it. At 5m exactly…they posted the article. The rest has been a whirlwind of comments and praise that I was not expecting. I did a radio interview with a show out of Syracuse the very next day. It turns out to be the most read blog post I have written ever.

I was asked what was it like to create a brand for yourself? Simply put: Absolutely Amazing.