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So many other relevant issues to write about and I have to pick Twitter.

Let’s get the bad (good) news out of the way: Twitter is destined to become an app and fade away as another Internet fad. If it’s lucky, it might get gobbled up by another application and become a little birdie icon on, say, the facebook platform. Deep down we know Twitter is an awkward teenage phase in the progression of postmodern communications. Even Mark Ragan, as in Ragan Communications and a big proponent of Twitter and other social media as valuable business strategies, takes Twitter with a grain of salt.

So, why spend my precious time tweeting? I’m neither planning a flash mob nor coordinating a street protest. I’m definitively not staging a revolution in a developing country (although I wish Che Guevara could have had tweeted himself out of Bolivia). I’m also not covering a concert tour for Entertainment Weekly (although I still dream of trailing Lenny Kravitz). The answer is simple: the medium has become the message. Big companies feel the need to be on Twitter because their competitors are. Small consultants like me feel the need to be on Twitter because everyone else is putting “@pvraquel” on their electronic business cards. If I don’t get my clients’ messages out on Twitter, I might be perceived as less effective than another consultant. (I recommended Twitter to a NC client who happened to be into grassroots events. Twitter was a good strategy for them.)

So, we tweet. Incessantly. I often wonder what will happen to all this electronic garbage. Are tweets like the confetti-like, round bits of paper from a hole-puncher? Outdated web pages would then be the stack of office paper waiting to be recycled. So much tweeting energy needs to be transformed into something new and (re)usable.

Twitter has a good offer of recipient-controlled communication. That concept will prevail into the next phase. Still, I think of Twitter as an unwanted side effect of our capitalist system. You know, the same system that commercialized an otherwise not-for-profit educational endeavor known as The Internet? Or maybe it’s the fault of the media, always looking for a way to scoop the competition – for the capitalist reason of selling more ad space and increasing profits. Not that there’s anything wrong with that – I am part of the media after all.

After a long inner struggle, I finally caved in and decided to revive my own personal Twitter account – not that I’m planning anything too exciting, like trailing Lenny Kravitz on tour. But you never know. Follow me @pvraquel.

After laying out my thoughts on Twitter (in way more than 140 characters), I’m left with a lingering question: If Che Guevara were still alive, wouldn’t he, too, be on Twitter?

Note: This list from Ragan Comm. helped me work up the courage to revive my twittering, and made me feel I’m not alone:


I had the pleasure of spending this past week with a group of excellent professionals and friends from Latin America. We’re a small group of communications consultants who met at a conference in Florida. We have a client in common and although we’ve known each other and worked jointly on projects for a long time, a few years had passed since we had a chance to see each other face to face, other than on facebook. Represented in this group are Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Colombia, Ecuador, Argentina, Brasil, Chile and Venezuela.

We spent most of the week talking about current uses of new media, the subject of the conference and a popular topic these days. (We also drooled over Dominican Republic’s new iPad.) Venezuela captivated our imagination with people’s clever use of Twitter during street protests. The last day of our meeting, Ecuador brought us to a harsh and immediate reality.    

Imagen de Sarita en Argentina.

Just say no to a state of coups.

The day Ecuador was supposed to reunite with her family for a quick trip to NYC before returning home, images of a coup in Quito appeared in the global media. We might never know what really happened or whether the coup was legit or staged to make the powers that be look like victims of tyranny. But the mood changed to somber and strangely appreciative of what the rest of us have: order, stability, relative economic prosperity. I think most of us became keenly aware of the things we don’t have to deal with (at least not today): chaos, state-promoted violence, tear gas and barricaded streets. It’s true that it’s all relative, because even Venezuela was commenting that things have not been THAT bad lately. And here’s where I have to ask, what price do we pay for order? Ecuador’s family could not come on their trip as planned, neither could she return home until they reopen the airport in Quito. But even when she was trying to enter our calm country (arriving on a routine flight from Quito), Ecuador was detained by homeland security because she has a common name that matched a suspicious person’s. Does our definition of order include being paranoid about petite women from South America? I’m not sure any of us can define order. I’m not sure we can define progress, prosperity or democracy. It’s all relative.

Reclama tu territorio en cualquier idioma

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