ONEDROP Foundation organizes mission for water

•October 5, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Al Gore, take a peak behind the scenes

Just as it has been doing since its creation, ONEDROP Foundation will try to create awareness in the population about the lack of equal access to water in the world.

His mission, “Water for all, all for water”, summarizes the idea of fighting against poverty by giving everyone enough access to safe water.

Guy Laliberté, founder of ONEDROP and owner of Cirque du Soleil, will try to impact people’s minds so more actions are done to solve this problem.

This time he will promote from space the Poetic Social Mission. Laliberté is aboard the International Space Station (ISS) because he became the seventh special tourist. He traveled in the Soyuz TMA-16 on September 30th, and the rocket docked safely to the ISS.

For this travel, Laliberté started his preparation since May 9th in Star City, near Moscu, Russia. After tests and intensive physical training, done for 5 months, the artist and entrepreneur arrived to the ISS on October 2th.

Since the launching Laliberté showed his artistic roots and called himself “the first clown in space”, donned a red nose and carried a small package with more red noses for the members of the crew.

But even if Laliberté presence has changed the humor in the ISS, his mission is no joke.

The most relevant moment of this travel will be on October 9th, when the event Moving Stars and Earth for Water will be broadcasted, with international celebrities reading a poetic tale in 14 cities around the world. These celebrities include Al Gore, U2, Tatuya Ishii, Peter Gabriel, Shakira, Salma Hayek, Lila Downs, Patrick Bruel, A. R. Rahman, among others.

The event will be transmitted around 7:00 p.m. (time in Mexico City, -4 GMT). People will be able to see it through, and the cities that will participate in this effort will be Montreal, Durban, Rio de Janeiro, Paris, Mexico City, New York, Sydney, London, Marrakesh, Mumbai, Osaka, Santa Monica, Tampa and Moscow.

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Democracy and Internet

•August 2, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Recently, talking with Gabriel Adame (@Gabo_Adame on Twitter, who invited me to his last radio program in Plaza Network@plazanetwork-) we were discussing how Internet could help democracy in various countries, including Mexico.

One of the tools that have helped people looking to improve democracy in their countries is Twitter. This social network has helped people to know what is happening in the world before the mainstream media even reports it and it has been used to events that traditional media considers unimportant or because there are controlled by the government and dissidence is punished with jail or even death.

Recently this happened in Iran and its election, called fraudulent by opponents to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and in China, where a conflict with Uighur, an ethnic group that was violently repressed. Both events were known in the world thanks to dissidents who managed tospread images and videos about what happened in both countries on Twitter.

What @Gabo_Adame said was that he considered possible that Internet improves democracy in our country in the same way other countries has done this: improving the information about government’s abuses.

My question is how long is possible to do this? How can you influence through Internet so people reacts and starts to defend their rights?

To begin with, I think more access to the technology of Internet is necessary, so people can learn to use this tool and all his possibilities. This would be possible in Mexico when almost all schools, public or private, teach to use and give access to Internet.

Besides, people has to be able to use it easily outside schools and universities, in places like libraries, public square and places where people spends time with others.

In Mexico nearly 27 persons have access to Internet and it isn’t clear if they use it in all its potential (for example, they use it mostly to check their e-mail and chat on instant messengers) and there are a lot of ways to get benefits from them if they know how to use it and spend some time understanding the Web.

But there are obstacles too: people who want to improve our democracy, if they don’t know the internal operation of government and bureaucracy, at least as I see it, have a difficult task: make people participate and move so they can find a legal way to improve things. This is a difficult task not everyone would try.

It’s a difficult matter and, nevertheless, I can help but feel that there’s a little hope that, as soon Internet is widely used in our country and people begins to use it more for other things than studies, work or entertainment, all will begin to move.

Why some people is attacking others in Twitter

•August 2, 2009 • Leave a Comment

It’s strange to be writing this, but I have no other way, first, to let the people know that someone is copying various accounts on Twitter, impersonating them, copying their avatars, bio, site link and backgrounds to mislead their followers to think they are the person they’re impersonating. I’m the latest person their impersonating and trying to harass.

And second, I want to express my theory of why is this happening? Well, I’ve been thinking about this since the impersonation of various people I follow and respect started.

In some cases seems to be something personal, by the way the fake accounts tweets: something this person said or the fact that they have a lot of followers makes angry the author of the tweets and he’s attacking them and trying to do as much damage to his image he can (and by impersonating them they also make people trust him and follow, so they can spread their “ideas” to more and more twitterers).

In other cases, it’s a political issue. And I think in my case and at least one of my friends this is what happened. Why I say so? Well, for starters, we are in getting closer to an important election. I write in this blog and in the Spanish one stuff about Mexican politics. I express my views in Twitter (particularly, I have participated in some conversations about politics).

And the thing that I believe caused most of the anger of this person: I helped, with various others twitterers, to discover some accounts of a national newspaper were fake and were spreading mostly opinions, without saying ‘this is an editorial’, instead of news.

I’m talking of my case, but I believe in the case of other harassed people this is what’s happening also: something they said about politics or something they do about those fake accounts or other fake accounts trying to influence people in certain way bothered this person.

And that’s why I believe there’s intolerance in Mexico. It seems to me that some intolerant people can’t stand a person express their views (without trying to make others to think like him/her). Their response is to attack.

Well, I’m not going to enable this person by answering their attacks or even reading their tweets. I have a work (even if it’s at home and freelance, I have a compromise to do it as good as I can), a family and problems to solve that are way too important to answer someone blinded by their bigotry and intolerance.

I’m just doing this post as a warning to those who could be approached by this account, asking them to follow him or in other ways. Also, to tell you that I’m ignoring their tweets, but I’m reporting them to Twitter. Hopefully, Twitter can do something about this.

And also, as a reflection about how things work in Mexico lately. It seems that if a person expresses views that contradict somebody else, then someone is going to attack him/her. It’s really sad.

I think that everyone has the right to express their views, particularly if they aren’t trying to force you to think their way. I have moderate views; I believe we should vote for the candidates that offer better solutions, no matter what their party is. Also, I don’t believe in racism or homophobia, because everyone has the right to be treated equal by the people and the law. I think in every problem we have we can reach a solution discussing this problems, not disqualifying the other.

I hope people can see the difference among those positions: intolerance and tolerance, and chooses to follow or read those who are not trying to force their way by attacking others.

My rules on Twitter

•June 7, 2009 • Leave a Comment
Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBase

For those reading this, yes, I also think it’s a little strange having to say what are my rules on Twitter, but more people is following me (I’m not sure why are they following me, but thank you) and I think it’s necessary to say how I’m going to behave on Twitter so you know what to expect.

  • My first rule is: I follow everyone (except spam or bots) who wants to exchange data, news, conversation and who wants to dialogue (I don’t like one way communication; I look for the possibility to talk to them and be answered). This means: I follow everyone, except those who want to flood my timeline with ads or personal content every 2 seconds. I don’t mind at all if people doesn’t think like I do, I just want them to be open to discuss and listen to me, and not to be angry or dismiss me if I don’t think the same (and I offer to do the same). Sometimes I follow companies or people who doesn’t dialogue but that I believe can give me interesting information. The rest are people I want to be able to talk with, exchange information, data or just get to know them. I think everyone has something interesting to say.
  • If after trying to talk or exchange information I believe I’m annoying you with my tweets (particularly if you say it directly), I unfollow and I expect you to do the same. Why would I want to annoy you with my chat or content? Unfollowing someone is not ‘hating’ or ‘loathing’ that person or entity, I can’t hate or loath someone I don’t know (how could I know someone only by following them on Twitter?). I just think Twitter is a party where you should behave with civility, so if my conversation doesn’t interest someone, I just move and find someone who feels interest about it.
  • Same principle, if someone unfollows me, I try not to take it personal. For me, it only means he/she didn’t find value in what I’m saying and it’s ok. I think we can’t expect our tweets to be loved or liked by everyone. I think that getting angry for something that happens every day (that someone doesn’t want to listen to you or read you) simply because on Twitter you can tell that it happened (because you can see who unfollowed you) it’s not logical. In ‘real life’ people just dismiss you or stops reading your content (your blog, your tumblr, etc.) if they don’t like it and you just don’t notice it. Why take it personal?
  • I will try to respond every reply or DM that you send, but sometimes they just don’t reach. TweetDeck isn’t working right for me lately (some tweets are lost in limbo) and sometimes your tweets are so many they just delete themselves in my timeline before I can read it. So, if I don’t answer, I’m not ignoring you, I want to engage, but sometimes this is difficult.
  • What I say, RT or comment on Twitter is just my opinion. I don’t want to impose anything to anybody. Sometimes I strongly express my feelings or beliefs, but this doesn’t mean I expect anybody to think or do the same that I do. I don’t think anybody (even famous or known people) can expect that those who follow them do what they say or think what they think, even if people like them.
  • If someone insults me without any reason at all or insults someone I follow, I will block you. I just think there’s no need to use foul language if I’m not insulting you and something annoys you. Also, if you mistreat someone I know, what can expect you to do if you follow me?

Well, these are my rules on Twitter. As I said in the beginning, my idea is letting you know what I want to obtain in this social network. I believe there’s a lot to obtain in this social network, but also, there’s the possibility of hurting feelings.

So, if I say exactly how I will use Twitter and why I do some things, I hope that you will understand that I want to use it the best way I can, without creating uncomfortable situations.

For me it is not true that Twitter makes you insensitive, it’s just that you don’t see a face in front of you, but you see other things: emotions, tastes, feelings, ideas. So, I think I’m going to behave with certain rules because I want to treat right those people behind a computer. With this I want to conclude: I respect you all, even if you disagree with me, and I really appreciate the possibility of talking with you.

When is going to be a Social Media editor in newspapers in Latin America?

•June 7, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Matthew Palenksky, writer for The Huffington Post, wrote today an analysis about how the New York Times first social media editor, Jennifer Preston, is doing on Twitter

Palensky reported that the new editor, a veteran reporter an editor, who started using Twitter first asked feedback on how the NYT should use Twitter. She had more than three thousand followers in a day.

But seems to be that her use of Twitter caused surprise in Palensky, since she sent a RT of the tweet of another user and, in doing so, she unwillingly cut the link to the post she found useful, sending people to Ebay.

I wonder, though: if this was something that Palensky saw as a ‘rookie mistake’, what would he think about things in Latin America, where there’s not such a position in any newspaper (that I know of) and there’s just a few experiments trying to take advantage of social media as a way to attract people to reading newspapers again.

The effort is good, since the previous attitude towards social media was that it was more ‘a game’ than something you could use to “lure” readers to your content.

I think seeing someone representing a newspaper in such a personal way in Latin America (even with this kind of mistakes) would be more than interesting and a sign that finally newspapers and media is taking seriously this kind of tools.

And I think people who uses Social Media in Latin America would be very glad to see transparency in their newspapers, because someone trying to reach his readers in this way isn’t part of the way the newspapers are used to work in Latin America.

In Mexico, for example, newspapers sometimes put their interest or connection with certain group (political or economical) before their ethic. I think using social media as more as broadcasting services will be very difficult for them.

I hope we can see soon something like the effort the NYT is doing. If in US newspapers are struggling but at least trying to understand the new ways users are obtaining their information, what is going to happen to newspapers in Latin America that aren’t doing anything?

Solidarity and Twitter

•June 7, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Yesterday I was in the middle of a little personal crisis. The company my husband was working for is having difficulty getting new contracts, so they decided to cut personal, one of them was my husband.

This would be (if sad for me and my family) anecdotical if it weren’t for what happened when I knew.

I was feeling really worried and didn’t have no one to talk to in that exact moment, so (maybe I overreacted, i don’t know) I tweeted the next line in Spanish and English: “Y yo que estaba contenta, pues ya no, me acaban de dar la peor noticia / I was happy, not anymore, I received the worst kind of news 😦 ”

I didn’t expect the kind of answer I had. A lot (and I mean 20 or more) people began to ask me what had happened. I answered them by Direct Messange (DM)

But what is extraordinary is that people in my city (and other places in the country) offered not only verbal advice, but help with promoting my husban’s résumé, contact with head hunters, links to useful sites with jobs related with my husband’s experience.

All this, even if maybe I was too expansive in the way I tweeted about my feelings, makes me conclude that a social media service only can be as extraordinary as the people who uses it. I don’t think I’m wrong when I say I have found in Twitter interesting and fun conversation, and also solidarity that I didn’t expect to find with people you talk with and that, in a way, is a part of your life.

Finally, all this post has one purpose: to thank everyone, you really make me feel conforted, and helped me to keep my head cool. I think, even if some say this media makes us cold with other people emotions, less emphatical, what teally happens is that you can see people show all his humanity as in any other place.

Cinco de Mayo isn’t Mexico’s Independence Day

•May 7, 2009 • Leave a Comment
viva mexico

As always, with 5 de mayo celebrations happening in US, I have this mixed feelings. I feel happy that there’s a celebration that recognizes Mexican immigrants’ influence in US, their heritage and pride, but at the same time, I find strange that this day has evolved in this huge celebration in US and besides, sometimes I think that some Americans believe this day is Mexico’s Independence Day.

And just so you know, this is not the day we celebrate Independence. Mexicans celebrate that day on September 16th, because it was the day a priest, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, called people who lived in Mexico under the government of Spaniards to battle against them.

But even with this confusion, it was very nice to be able to see US President Barack Obama adressing people celebrating the day in the White House. He looks sincere in his way to treat Mexicans and I hope he will be a good neighbor as he said in this video:

Update: A curious fact was brought to my attention by @jhapik in Twitter, the general who fought the Battle of Puebla (which occurred on May 5th), Ignacio Zaragoza, was born in Texas when this state was part of Mexico. So he was Mexican and Texan at the same time.

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