Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Latino Social Hurricane

Someone's Twitter handle can turn into the official source of information during a hurricane in a couple of days
By Gustavo Razzetti, ClickZ

A couple of days ago, I got a call from a journalist that wanted to learn more about the phenomenon of Latinos in social media. He said he's been reading the Marketing to Latinos column at ClickZ and was curious about what was driving the explosion of Hispanics in social media.

At the same time, while I was finalizing this column, another phenomenon came to life. I'm talking about @irene, a major natural event, which persuaded me to change the topic of my column and turned it into what you are reading right now.

Why Latinos Are Social?

I mentioned that, of course, age is a key factor. Latinos are younger than the general population, so it makes sense that they are more open to new technologies and interact more with other people.

Another reason includes having friends and family that are all spread out. Many have friends and family in their country of origin (or their parent's one). Also, if you take a look at the dynamics of population, Latinos have been migrating to non-traditional Hispanic DMAs such as North Carolina. Their social network is more diverse (browse the names of any Latino's Facebook friends and you'll know what I'm talking about).

Also, considering the social nature of Latinos, it seems obvious that this is a key driver. If you look at the statistics, Latinos spend much more time than the average American tweeting, posting on Facebook, etc.

Hmm…tricky question: is this social nature exclusive to Latinos?

Hurricanes Go Social

Many times, as marketers, when thinking on social media, we tend to put more emphasis on the media portion rather than on the social aspect. This recent event is a great example of why "social" goes before "media."

It might have been an interesting one for Irene Tien. As a pioneer in social media, she has the Twitter handle with her first name, @irene. And when the news spread around about the chances of a hurricane hitting the East Coast, she started to receive tweets directed to her, as if she was actually the natural catastrophe. Following the advice of her colleagues, she decided to "lend" her Twitter handle for some days, so that it could be used to share safety information and advice related to Hurricane Irene (the real one). Combining useful tips and links with a sense of humor drove her account past 11,000 followers.

The Latino Hurricane

The Latino Twittersphere was also very active. Natural threat aside, it was an interesting thing to watch. Kind of a live version of the reasons I had explained to the journalist mentioned above.

I evidenced an increased interaction between friends and family living in Latin America and in the U.S. I saw a back and forth between speaking in English and Spanish as a consequence of that. The social spirit of Latinos was at its peak; people sharing advice, information, and sending "bendiciones" for those who had families on the East Coast.

There was also room for humor as well. One friend, after the storm, was saying that what happened was nothing compared to how his hometown in South America got after a "regular" rainstorm. Another friend was bragging, saying that "se ahogaron en un vaso de agua" (they got drowned in a glass of water) and that category one storms, Caribbeans eat those for breakfast.

Providing help, emotional support, and also their sense of humor, Latino social nature was at its best around Irene.

Social Storms

External phenomenons ignite conversations in social media, turning complete strangers into "friends" who really care about each other's family. Someone's Twitter handle can turn into the official source of information during a hurricane in a couple of days.

Once again, social comes first and people are becoming (trusted) media. As marketers, we need to learn more about how external social events impact consumers' mindsets and behaviors. Thanks to @irene, for the latest lesson.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Homeland Security rescinds "Secure Communities" agreements

DHS decision to rescind MOAs lacks legal authority and violates principles of Democratic Government
By Keith Rushing, Rights Working Group

WASHINGTON D.C. -- The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency has demonstrated that it has gone completely rogue. Since rolling out the Secure Communities program in 2008, ICE has signed over 1,200 Memoranda of Agreement (MOAs) with jurisdictions agreeing to participate in the program.

On August 5, 2011, ICE announced, shockingly, that it will unilaterally rescind the Memorandums Of Agreement (MOAs) and proceed with Secure Communities without the agreement of state and local jurisdictions.

Contrary to the announcement of John Sandweg, Counselor to the DHS Secretary and Deputy Secretary, the federal statute that Sandweg cites as mandating participation in Secure Communities does nothing of the kind. It requires information sharing but does not require states to participate in this initiative, nor does it require the deportation of migrants who have been arrested but not yet convicted of crimes.

ICE insists that Secure Communities is mandatory and will become fully operational in every jurisdiction of the country by 2013. Rights Working Group denounces ICE’s actions.

“Across the country, local jurisdictions and states have publicly rejected the Secure Communities program and have told the federal government that they do not want Secure Communities destroying their communities, separating families, and encouraging discriminatory police practices such as racial profiling. For ICE to thumb their nose at the decisions of elected officials to withdraw from the program is without legal basis and offensive,” said Margaret Huang, Executive Director of Rights Working Group.

Due to the public outcry about the program and the dangers it poses to community policing and safety, as well as the program’s violations of long-held principles of due process and fairness, several states and localities have demanded to opt out of Secure Communities. Most recently, governors of New York, Illinois, and Massachusetts have informed ICE that their states will no longer participate in the program.

Rights Working Group has long denounced the lack of transparency and accountability in the implementation of Secure Communities. Investigative reporters and documents received through a Federal of Information Act lawsuit unraveled ICE’s inaccurate statements and reversals of opinion on these MOAs—leading Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) to call for an investigation of the initiative.The Congressional Hispanic Caucus has urged the Obama Administration to place an immediate moratorium on Secure Communities.

Said Huang: “Secure Communities keeps local police from fulfilling their core mission of protecting our communities because when local police target people to enforce immigration law, it increases the level of fear and makes it far more difficult to gain community trust.” The vast majority of undocumented battered women are already reluctant to report their abuse to police for fear of detention and deportation. Secure Communities and similar programs make it even less likely that migrant witnesses and victims will come forward.

“This Administration can no longer continue to stand by Secure Communities,” said Huang. “By continuing to support this program they are sanctioning racial profiling, eroding the trust local law enforcement agencies have built with communities of color and showing the international community that our immigration system does not respect the basic human rights of all persons in our country.”

Rights Working Group urges DHS to:

  • Immediately stop the implementation of Secure Communities and similar programs unless and until meaningful civil rights and civil liberties safeguards are put in place to ensure that racial profiling and other human rights violations are not occurring, including collecting data on the perceived race or ethnicity of the people arrested, the charges that are lodged and the ultimate disposition of the case.
  • Terminate Secure Communities in jurisdictions that have chosen to opt out of the program.
  • Immediately suspend Secure Communities in jurisdictions with a documented record of racial profiling or where DOJ is actively investigating a pattern or practice of discriminatory policing.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Tom Flores: His last year to get in the Pro Football Hall of Fame

Flores is not the first Hispanic to play pro football, but he is the first Hispanic to play starting quarterback for an NFL team and was first to win four Super Bowl rings.

OAKLAND, CA -- In recognizing Thomas Raymond Flores (AKA Coach Tom Flores), the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) has out done the one organization that is supposed to acknowledge individuals who have accomplished outstanding athletic fetes, the Pro Football Hall of Fame (HOF).  It took one of the nation’s largest Hispanic organizations to present Coach Tom Flores with the prestigious “Roberto Clemente Award for Sports Excellence.”  The award is presented by NCLR to sports professionals who positively portray Hispanic Americans and promote efforts to help Hispanics across the U.S.

Not to say that the HOF should induct Flores based on his ethnicity, however, it has been hinted that perhaps the oversight of Flores induction could be based on his Mexican-American background.  Still, others allege that his continued affiliation with Raider’s owner Al Davis has poisoned his chances of being recognized.  It’s possible, but unlikely.

Flores is not the first Hispanic to play pro football, but he is the first Hispanic to play starting quarterback for an NFL team and was first to win four Super Bowl rings.  But, apparently that isn’t enough for the HOF.

Of the 267 members who have been inducted into the HOF, only 2 are Hispanic – Tom Fears, a receiver for the Los Angeles Rams (1948-1950), and Anthony Munoz, a lineman for the Cincinnati Bengals (1981-1991).  Not to minimize their accomplishments in the NFL, Fears and Munoz were very deserving of an induction, but in weighing their accomplishments in the NFL, Flores stands head and shoulders above them.

Born March 21, 1937 in Fresno, California, Flores grew up picking grapes and playing football for Sanger High School.  Upon graduating, he headed north to play for the University of the Pacific Tigers and upon graduating he went to play for the Canadian Football League before landing as the Oakland Raider’s first Quarterback from 1960 to 1966.  These weren’t easy years for the start-up team since they had to play their games at San Francisco’s Kezar and Candlestick Stadiums until Oakland completed the Coliseum. 

As the Raider’s quarterback, Flores averaged a 50 percent pass completion rate, and gave them three winning seasons before being traded to the Buffalo Bills in 1967.  Two years later he was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs where he retired in 1970.  

Flores came back to the Raiders in 1972 as Assistant Coach, coaching the wide receivers, tight ends and quarterbacks.  His big break came in 1979 after the legendary John Madden retired and Al Davis, now managing owner of the Raiders, picked Flores to be the head coach.  He took the Raiders to the Super Bowl and won in 1981 and 1984, with the latter being the only Super Bowl championship by a Southern California NFL team.  After that game, Al Davis exclaimed:  “Tom Flores isn't just a great coach in our league. With all due respect, he's one of the greatest coaches of all time.”

Coach Tom Flores and Quarterback Jim Plunkett
Interestingly, nearly every player Flores coached in those championship years is now part of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, except him and another Mexican-American, Jim Plunkett – the starting quarterback for the Raiders in the 1984 Super Bowl game.  

Today, Flores remains tied to the Raiders as the “color man” for the Raider Nation Radio Network.  But, it’s his community involvement and giving that is also very impressive.

Since the 1980s, Flores has hosted an annual golf tournament in Los Angeles to benefit the Boy Scouts with Disabilities, an event that has raised over $3.5 million since.  In addition, he established the Tom Flores Foundation that benefits low-income youth in his hometown of Sanger, California, which also named their high school stadium in his name.

Flores has even found the time to author his biography, “Fire In the Ice Man,” and co-authored “Tales of the Oakland Raiders,” two books still selling well across the nation.
Obviously, the only thing missing is his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  Two other coaches, Mike Ditka and Tony Dungy, share similar records as Flores, of which only Ditka has been inducted.  Dungy still has time to be inducted, but unfortunately, this is Coach Flores’ last year to be inducted into the HOF, a process controlled by sports writers.  

Since 2009, the National Football League has stated it wants to grow its Hispanic fan base.  There would be no greater recruitment tool than inducting Flores into the HOF and use the ceremonies to market the NFL to Hispanics across the U.S.  Not all of the 50+ million Hispanics living in the U.S. are soccer fans.

VIDEO:  Coach Tom Flores accepting the prestigious Robert Clemente Award for Sports Excellence...