If I think back at my earliest memories on the internet, I can remember CompuServe and AOL. The concept of being at home yet talking to people I never met was fascinating. For Latino’s the AOL Latino chatrooms were big…and became a force to be reckoned with as far as creating community and social events. People adopted their online personas built relationships, networked and eventually there was a basis or common ground to meet offline.
Fast forward to the year 2000, a company called Community Connect started a website called MiGente.com, I actually found them by accident because they had actually secured a domain that I was interested in as a possible property for a project I was working on as a you internet entrepreneur…(I think it was LatinLounge.com). MiGente who in my opinion, took social networking from what AOL was and created a platform that allowed people to express themselves culturally. Best of all it was free…a quien no le gusta lo gratis?. A concept in which websites like MYSPACE and FACEBOOK have cashed in on big time.
Now…Social Media is all the rage and hundreds of startups are fighting for the opportunity to assist you in your addiction to connecting with people online. Well…I am happy to announce that Mi Gente has been incorporating a lot of what other websites have made relevant (and successful) into Mi Gente and I for one have made the jump back into a niche site (in this case LATINO) that better identifies with who I am. I am tired of communicating with bands that just want me to click into their sites so that they can validate how “good” they are…or to endless bulletins of party promoters telling me where to party…I want to be amongst the people…my people…my readers and they are on MI GENTE because like me…they have suffered MYSPACE fatigue for too long but yet still feel the need to network with quality people that have common interests. I have looked at a lot of up and coming websites that are trying to grasp this market and none in my opinion come close to MiGente.com.
Sidenote: I just realized while I am writing this… that I finally won a bet with my boy Pedro from my college days…haha PEDRO WHAT HAPPENNED TO ICARAMBA.COM?, I TOLD YOU MG WAS HOTTER…you owe me a bottle of Bacardi…I will see you around the way.
I think MiGente’s biggest opportunity is to get out there and start supporting some of the events Latino’s care about across the country..in the barrios…so that they can get the brand recognition that they have earned for being a pioneer in this social networking game. They have to continue partnering with grassroots organizations that are on their way to stardom like ROOM28 and In The Height’s on Broadway who just recently got 13 Tony Award nominations. It would not hurt for them to team up with those two crazy Boricua’s behind the Capicu Poetry & Cultural Showcase that stay making history in Brooklyn (Hey we be grinding too). I have many more ideas on how to make MiGente.com the #1 Latino social network site…but Community Connect is gonna have to holla at me and give me a meeting to find out what exactly those ideas are.
But back to the good old days…funny as it may seem…it was on Mi Gente that PapoSwiggity and I first met back in 2000 and talked about what a collaboration (Capicu Poetry) between us might look like….he was like the first member…and he was on everyones page…like a “Latino Tom”….yeaaaah thats it…Papo was the “Latino Tom”. Now if you have been to the show, you know that I call him the Mayor of MySypace. I am sure he put in more time on the site than the people that worked there…if he was a graffitti writer he would be king of the MG line. I guess the funniest thing I saw happen on MiGente was the formation of “cyber crews or familes”. These people would make banners, and design photos that showed them pledging allegiance to these “organizations” who became virtual families, whether their goal was popularity (via guestbook tagging) or promoting parties, crews like Mafia- a.k.a the First Family, RAC Crew (Reply All Crew) or Nachos Angels, which was an all-female group that were basically event organizers for various kind of events. Other promoters that emerged from this era that had strong MiGente following was “Fully Equipped”, and LatiNature (which was founded by another godfather of MG, PR Lou)…and from what I understand are still very much relevant in NYC nightlife. It was when the Mi Gente parties started…people would automatically click with their “set” (so I guess when you are a Jet, you are a Jet for life). The best part about it is that I know so many people who originally met on MIGente.com that are still friends to this day, if that is not a testament to what community connect created, I do not know what is. I know that I am still friends with many people that I met on Mi Gente. Last but certainly not least, it was on Mi Gente that my website became very popular on the college scene (especially with Latino greeks and their supporters) which led to me lecturing in colleges and co-sponsoring educational programs all over the country…so to them I say Thank You!
Damn, writing this post has really made me realize just how much I missed MiGente…and for those of you wondering ,the picture of me with the PR flag was my original MiGente profile pic on my “ElRenacido97” profile which has since been deleted. Check out my new profile by clicking here.
So I am back, back to restablish my roots with a entity that has both nostalgia and incredible potential for unifying Latinos not just in NYC, but accress the country.
I would really love to hear your MiGente stories…so hit me up at SofritoSubmissions@Gmail.com and let me know if you still riding with MiGente and share some of your MiGente memories.
Special thanks to Papo Swiggity for helping me remember some of the prominent Mi Gente heads from back in the days…
See you at MiGente.com!!!!
As I am,
The Urban Jibaro
Some of the new features on MI GENTE include….pages you can indulge in Self-expression, Blogs, News, Groups, Meet People, Videos, Chat Rooms, Dating profiles, Rate Me Photos, Professional Networking, Job Listings, Quizzes, Friend Finder, Music and Forums.
Here is some info from MiGente.com about their current offerrings;
MiGente.com is your place to meet and connect with Latinos around the country. Chat or post photos and videos to share your experience. Look for other Hispanic Americans who are sharing theirs—even if you’re searching for news about what’s hot in Latin music, fashion, sports and events or looking for the buzz in business, politics and trends, we are the home for what is relevant to you and your community. This is the largest online community for Latinos, Latino Americans, Hispanics and Hispanic Americans—the entire Spanish-speaking family—to network, share an urban lifestyle, find romance, entertainment, and even jobs.
Finding someone tailor-made for you is a hard thing. We’ve done our part to make it a little easier. Search for love, lovers or mates and make connections with infinite possibilities—all at MiGenteAmor, where like-minded people from your community hang out. Skip the superficial dating barriers and find lasting, real romance based on common interests and roots in a shared Hispanic culture. Flirt with thousands of others just like you at MiGente.com.
Want to network, too? Togetherness is a powerful thing, and when a group bands together in a cooperative spirit, you get success. Empower and be empowered by the Latino community through our business networks and meet people who work like you. Through our alliance with Monster.com, there are thousands of opportunities for success. Get tips and news about what’s out there with other Hispanic professionals who are making it happen right now.