I’m headed back to the Latinos in Social Media Conference (Latism) but this time it’s in my home state of Texas: Houston, Texas October 25-27, 2012. Last year ¿Qué Means What? wasn’t even a year old. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with this blog. I was hardly posting once a month. After attending Latism ’11 and being around so many passionate and powerful Hispanics/Latinos, I had a better insight of what my voice really could be and would be. I’ve always known I have a cultural identity crisis. I just didn’t know that so many others could relate to it.
Last year I did learn lessons about blogging, social media, technology and reaching out to the Latino market. That was good. Pero, what I really appreciated about the conference was the relationships that I began. I made new connections and some of those have become great friends. I’m very much looking forward to seeing them again. I was able to put faces to Twitter handles and give big hugs to those I had been following and had learned from or simply made me laugh online. I met my roomie Alexandra from Undercover Mexican Girl; Byrdie Franco, Dallas/Ft.Worth Chapter Director and Alicia, PR professional from California. Plus, I got to meet some of the voices from a few of my favorite sites like NewsTaco (of course), Latino Rebels, Spanglish Baby and New Latina. These are just a few of the many amazing hermanos I got to meet.
I will never forget the night we shared by chance with last year’s keynote speaker, Dolores Huerta. Please read about it in my post from last year. I still refer to it to remind me about what other Latinas have done before me. (and are still doing.)
When I went to Chicago, I remember feeling shy and questioning ‘would I fit in?’ As I do many times, I slightly feared that if they found out I didn’t speak Spanish well or didn’t grow up with many ‘traditional’ Mexican or Latino customs, they wouldn’t like me. That’s not what happened. I came back to Texas feeling like I had found my tribe. Because of a memorable panel about being bilingual and speaking Spanglish, I have shed the shame I held on to because of my lack of fluency in Spanish. (Admittedly, it still creeps in from time to time.)
Since the conference, I’ve been able to connect with others still online and in person about Latino culture. I continue to meet others and get the privilege to introduce them to Latism or hear their stories of why they belong to Latism. My blog has grown and so has my career in social media managing.
Earlier in 2012, we launched a local chapter of Latism-San Antonio. We are babies and have so much to learn. Many thanks to those who have come to our events in San Antonio and I hope to make you proud by representing The Alamo City this year. I’m excited to have a different level of participation at this year’s conference as a San Antonio chapter co-director. Already it’s been different because I’ve had a slight (very tiny) glimpse of what the volunteers do to put on this conference. I am also moderating a business panel: Bilingual Content Marketing: Best Practices for Businesses. Come listen and participate if you are at the conference, Saturday at 11:45am.
So, yes, a year makes a huge difference. Last year I was headed out solita, unknowing who I would meet and what to expect. This year, I can’t wait for the abrazos, contribute to the conference and make new friends all over again. Nos vemos.