Wired In is a series of daily reflections from Richmond Pulse reporter Edgardo Cervano-Soto on his participation in Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation launch at Harvard University and The California Endowment’s Building Healthy Communities campaign.

February, 27, 2012-Day 1: Downtown Los Angeles

When I first learned I would be attending the launch of Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation at Harvard University, I will admit, I was way more excited of walking through the archways of the country’s oldest university and testing my endurance against the bitter coldness of the East Coast’s winter. I have always wanted to know if I have what it takes to survive the East Coast, and part of that requires being victorious over the frostbite and avalanche of snow. But then when learned that Oprah was going to be attending, my head went into a frenzy. I overturned my storage boxes and searched for my “The Color Purple” playbill; positive that it was in there, and yet I couldn’t find it. I scavenged my drawers, closet, bookshelf, everywhere for that playbill. Finally, it was my dad who shook me out of my Oprah/Celebrity Craze and put things into a correct perspective, simply by asking: why are you going?

I told him, “Lady Gaga is starting a foundation that wants to discourage youth bullying. And the plan is to use Facebook and Twitter to promote her foundation.”

– “ Y porque el Feisbook?”

– “Because that’s what we use now.”

– “And what will you be doing?”

– “Reporting the event, and learning how to use social media sites like Facebook.”

– “But I thought you knew how to use that already.”

– “I do”

– “So what will you be learning then?”

I didn’t give it much thought what I would learn. I mean I actually didn’t really know what to expect, except that I would be in the middle of possibly the largest media and philanthropy event of the year. I had no idea over how this experience could link to improving my own personal and professional work. For some time, I have been using tumblr and twitter as a way to share my poems and creative writing on queer Latino identity, but I haven’t generated much of a following. Plus, as a journalist, I often doubted whether my articles for the Richmond Pulse were even being seen and read. I advertise the links on Facebook and send them to friends, but I am not sure if the articles go beyond the established network of contacts. With these questions in my head, I began to think that I had more to learn about social media, and digital literacy than I what I had thought previously.

Today, the presentation by Blue State Digital, an online organizing firm, confirmed my suspicions. I had much to learn. My involvement in the Born This Way Foundation launch and the California Endowment’s Building Healthy Communities is not only so I could cover the launch and interview youth delegates, but also use the information of digital storytelling and social media to improve my journalism. I am here to learn outreach strategies and practice them, so I can then try implementing them with my own organization. Now, I am thinking, how can I use all channels of social media to grow the Richmond Pulse reader membership and its presence in the community as a dependable news source? How can I increase the readership and following of my own blog?

We fly out to Boston early in the morning. All the youth delegates and reporters have been told to expect the freezing cold, and to wear hats and gloves. I am a little afraid of facing that cold, but inside I have the feeling of small currents of ideas wiring in my brain. Nice warm, sparkling ideas.

-Edgardo Cervano-Soto, Richmond Pulse

 

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