Recently, the first conference on the impact of social media on the Latina community took place in Dallas. One of the main speakers was Rudy Ruiz who the National Hispanic Institute calls a cultural visionary. A year ago, Rudy was running an ad agency, but he had little to do with Facebook, Twitter, or any of the other social media tools. Still, he knew something was missing in the world of social media: multicultural perspectives. So he created Red, Brown and Blue, an online multicultural sociopolitical media organization. Here’s something from the email that came to me about Rudy and the site: “The blogsite has essentially grown from just an idea to being one of the most sought-after news and opinion resources dedicated to providing multicultural perspectives. It’s been hailed by many Washington Hispanic influencers as a blueprint for someone outside-the-beltway to become influential and vocal on political issues without ever having to step foot in Washington.” I thought that was pretty amazing so I asked if Rudy would participate in a Q&A here. Fortunately, he agreed, so here we go with part two:
Leslie: How has your life changed since you started the site?
Rudy: I definitely think my life has been enriched by this experience. After 15 years of helping transform public policy into social action via my advocacy marketing agency, Interlex, I have been thrilled to begin working on the inverse: informing and shaping social action to help create public policies that better reflect the needs of diverse communities. I feel more empowered by creating an outlet for expression, utilizing it and making it available to others, including thinkers, writers and readers. The flip side of it is that sometimes I also experience more frustration than ever before. It’s one thing to talk about social and political changes and it’s another to actually help make them happen. I appreciate the doors RedBrownandBlue.com is opening up for me to voice the perspectives and opinions I believe need to be heard. And I’ve also appreciated the openness of people at high levels of organizations who have been willing to sit down and talk to us about how to work together in bringing diverse perspectives to their mainstream and influencer audiences. In that process, I feel that the boundaries of my life have opened up a bit via the site. I’m speaking and meeting with folks that I otherwise would never have met. And I feel that this is just the beginning of the journey, so in that sense a new range of potential and unexplored territory has been brought into my life. It’s also a new way for me to contribute to our world. And that’s an exciting prospect to face every day.
Leslie: Why do you think it has taken so long for more multicultural perspectives to appear within social media outlets?
Rudy: Mainstream media outlets rarely have the critical mass of multicultural personnel at high levels of their organizations to ensure the consistent and high-quality integration of multicultural perspectives that is truly necessary for mass media to reflect mass reality. So, until that changes, it’s up to multiculturally-owned and operated media vehicles to lead the way. Any entrepreneurial endeavor, especially one that involves technology and extensive labor hours, requires both financial and human capital. Within the multicultural world, it’s not surprising that it might take a bit more time for organizations to put together the resources needed to launch effective and competitive vehicles. And then, in order to appear within broader, mainstream media outlets, a certain amount of time is required to establish credibility and partnerships to make the content available to the broader audiences that large social media outlets can deliver. This is an ongoing process. It’s also an educational process to convince those who hold the power at large social and mass media outlets of the value that multicultural perspectives bring long-term to their endeavors. As a whole, we’re still not there yet, but we must keep at doing our work, building the evidence, and growing the partnerships to ensure audiences have access to all of the perspectives and voices they need to be seeing and hearing in order to form a more accurate picture of the nation and world in which they truly live.