Latino social network site promotes community
By Nilki Benitez, Contributing Writer
At Qoobole!, the Latino community now has an online home where they can come together to share their stories, ideas, and most importantly, their spirit of community involvement.
Bay Area’s Frank Flores co-founded the Latino social network Qoobole! in 2009 to unite Latinos in the spirit of community involvement and support. Originally from El Salvador, Flores wanted to get involved with the Bay Area community, but he found it hard to track down all the different organizations and their events. He saw the need for a dedicated space where Latinos could come together and find all the resources they needed to become involved with their community.
Many Latino social networking sites exist online, but Qoobole! is one of the few that seamlessly merges the fun and easy-going platform of a social networking site with the serious business of creating a positive impact in our communities. Its focus revolves around building the community, supporting the younger generation through the networking possibilities, and ad revenues. In addition, Qoobole! promotes mentorship programs that connect successful Latino community leaders and business owners with younger generations, providing a system of support while simultaneously instilling a culture of giving back in our future leaders.
By providing a platform where community members, businesses and organizations can learn about each other, Qoobole! hopes to facilitate organic partnerships between these entities, and in doing so, create opportunities that support economically disadvantaged youth with their aspirations of higher education. An example of this was Qoobole!’s partnership with Pro Wrestling Revolution to support their fund-raising event for San Francisco’s John O’Connell High School in January which raised funds for after-school academics and sports in hopes of helping keep youth off the streets and continuing their education.
Qoobole! also hopes to reach and inspire youth through the arts by supporting various performing arts and cultural events in the community. In March, Qoobole! partnered with The Chavez Family Vision Foundation and Si Se Puede! Learning Center in Hollister, CA to sponsor a student field trip to the musical drama “Let the Eagle Fly-The Story of Cesar E. Chavez”. Forty students and ten adults from a low-income housing unit operated by the UFW were able to attend this inspiring musical about Cesar Chavez and the grape boycott.
Currently, Qoobole!’s main focus is on increasing their site’s visibility in the Latino community as well as forming strategic partnerships with community leaders.
Qoobole!’s interactive social networking site allows users to view events by location or date and includes content videos, and much more.
We recently spoke with Qoobole! co-founder Frank Flores:
Q: What is Qoobole!'s mission statement?
A: To connect the Latino community to leaders, organizations, programs and causes by way of events and social tools.
Q: Why did you create Qoobole!?
A: I created Qoobole! because I was having trouble finding places where I could volunteer and connect with my community. I also wanted to reach out to leaders who are not exposed to the youth and to the community at large about their efforts.
Q: What is your vision for Qoobole?
A: My vision for Qoobole! is to create a down to earth social network that truly connected to its people no matter where they are. It could be the Bronx, the Mission, Little Habana or Little Mexico in California - it doesn't matter no matter what, we are Latinos and if we can connect on large scales, we can move mountains. Qoobole! wants to provide the platform for positive causes, connections and community involvement.
Q: There are many other Latino social networks out there-how is Qoobole different?
A: I love meeting new people, love positive movements and really love connecting people. Qoobole! has that essence and while we Latinos like to also have fun, Qoobole! is about real causes, action and motion to drive help to those people and organizations who need it.
Q: What sets Qoobole! apart?
A: Our personable approach sets us apart from the rest. I talk to everyone one of my members. I want to know what they want, what they need, and how I can help them in their efforts.
Q: Why is Qoobole! important?
A: It’s important because social networks today have become one too many, and somehow diluted to that powerful essence of moving mountains. Social networks are a virtual way for us to communicate and if we can help improve our daily real lives by using virtual social media tools, this is where Qoobole! wants to be very instrumental.
Q: What areas/departments will Qoobole! focus on?
A: Qoobole! will focus in the areas of local community, reaching out to local organizations that help low income students reach college. We also want to reach out to organizations that want to reach the Latino community though performing arts as I feel very strongly about and think that youth need to be exposed to these things as it will be another way for them to learn their history that they won't otherwise learn in schools, at least spark an interest. Qoobole! also wants to engage with local community leaders so that they can become mentors to our youth in our local communities and therefore inspire future leaders in our communities.
Q: Who is your audience?
A: Our audience is all Latinos who are interested in local community, who participate in local organizations, are involved in one or more non-profits, run their own businesses and still find time for friends and family. Our audience also enjoys music, sports, gossip and politics.
Q: Who makes up Qoobole!?
A: Frank Flores, Co-Founder and Director of Business Development and Community volunteer and advisor. I run the day-to-day operations of the site's exposure on the Internet and off-line. I am also the Director of business Development as my job is also to interest potential partnerships with other non-competing companies.
Nathaniel Burnett, Co-Founder and Lead Programmer who is the author of the design of Qoobole!. Nathaniel is also involved in the community volunteering and has a big interest in the Latino community. He runs the daily technical operations of Qoobole!'s backend.
Mary McKinnon, Community Manager. Mary is our community manager and marketing and sales contact. She is in charge of answering ad sales and also performs research about the industry that Qoobole! is a part of and how we can improve.
Jorge Chamorro, Events Manager. Jorge is our events manager. In the near future, Qoobole! wants to reach businesses to gather for socials where coming together will mean helping out causes which will benefit the Latino community.
Nilki Benitez is an independent writer. Follow her blog at http://nilkibenitez.blogspot.com/