Several years ago - well before the time I started writing this column - I was asked to do a keynote for a Hispanic association on the topic of Latinos and social media. While I am Latino, and know quite a bit about social media, I knew almost nothing about how the two were coming together in a most interesting way. In preparation for my talk, I Googled the words, and among the first results I found "Louis Pagan," one of the first people in a movement called LATISM (Latinos in Social Media) that was just getting started.
To join a movement - in this case a movement that's enabling Latinos to empower themselves - is relatively easy. But to help start something…well, that takes a little something extra.
For me, it was the beginning of a long ride that's still in progress. And it's with great sadness that I learned that Louis Pagan passed away this weekend.
I value Louis, of course, for introducing me to a world that today is now changing how markets grow, how politicians are elected, how governments get run. He was there at the beginning, first with LATISM, then with an organization called Hispanicize. And he eventually became one of the leading lights. His blogging was always wickedly pointed, often funny, but never mean. He consulted for some of the most interesting campaigns. And - through his leadership in the earliest of Latino social media organizations - he had become an impresario. There weren't - aren't - many people with the profile and stature to make new things happen in this new and emerging marketplace. Louis, as many will attest, was one of them.
But most of all - if it's not obvious yet - Louis was a great person. A great father, husband, friend, colleague, and mentor to many. The news about Louis is still getting out into the community, but what has emerged is a picture of a still-young pro who took quite a bit of time to help other people learn about the movement, learn the ropes, and just get started. In the world of social, the best obits come not from reporters but from everyone who's been given the chance to create a platform and speak for themselves. Louis helped many Latinos find that platform, and for that reason alone, he will be honored far and wide.
And so he is being honored here, a place he played a part in making happen, by opening the door. Adios, sweet Louis. May you rest in peace.
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Giovanni Rodriguez is an author, consultant, and public speaker on organizational leadership and digital/social communications. The views expressed in this blog are entirely his own.
March 19, 2014