Posted in Social Media, Trends

Mastodon – A Social Media Site Similar to Twitter, But Different

Mastodon logo

I have been using Twitter since 2009 and it has become a major source of news and information for me throughout the years. It has been a great ride, but the social media website is currently experiencing uncertainty since it was purchased by Elon Musk. Whether it weathers the sensational storm or not, the online town square has definitely changed and it may be time to find a suitable substitute.

Mastodon may very well become the alternative. I have read a few articles (several linked in this post) and decided to give Mastodon a try. Though the social media network is very similar to Twitter, there are some major differences.

If you are familiar with Twitter, Mastodon will not look odd and you should be able to pick up the basics easily. You follow people who in turn hopefully follow you back, but like with Twitter, that’s not always the case. Twitter has garnered an impressive membership roll of over 200 million users since it was formed in 2006. Meanwhile, Mastodon was founded in 2016 and just approached one million registered users.

I joined Mastodon almost two weeks ago and so far I love it for its greater sense of community. People seem much friendlier and more willing to reshare content. I plan to give it a go and see how the site develops over time.

One huge difference with Mastodon is that you first join a server or “instance” and then you create your profile. Servers are either based on a specific topic like news, technology, or genealogy, or they are general in nature. Whichever instance you chose can be changed later and anyone you join will allow you to connect with users hosted on other servers.

Mastodon is a decentralized network of many servers coming together to form the “fediverse” which is an open-source federated platform. The wonderful thing about Mastodon is that it’s a non-profit company based in Germany that is open to the world. This makes it stand apart from a private company owned by a billionaire.

If you are looking for another social media network to replace or co-exist with your Twitter account, I would definitely recommend you check out Mastodon.

Feel free to connect with me on

Mastodon.

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Posted in Latino, Social Media, Trends

Portuguese Puerto Ricans – A Facebook Page for “Portu Ricans” #porturicans

 


Portuguese + Puertorican =

After analyzing my updated DNA results, I created a Facebook Page for Puerto Ricans with Portuguese ancestry. It only has seven “Likes” but I believe that number will grow over time. Once I digested the fact that I am 29 percent Portuguese, I wondered how many other Puerto Ricans in the world shared greater Portuguese ancestry than Spanish. I thought maybe there’s a Facebook page or group for others like me. There wasn’t, so I decided to start one.

Everyone knows that Puerto Ricans are part Spanish and most Spanish have Portuguese ancestry based on proximity and the fact that the two countries were unified for a short time. Many Puerto Ricans know and accept their historic connection to Spain, but not many truly know or acknowledge our ancestral link to Portugal.

According to the Library of Congress, in 1593 Portuguese soldiers, sent from Lisbon by order of Philip II of Spain, composed the first garrison (military post) of the San Felipe del Morro fortress in Puerto Rico. Some brought their wives, while others married Puerto Rican women, and today there are many Puerto Rican families with Portuguese last names. On October 3, 1642, a Franciscan convent for men was founded in Puerto Rico by Portuguese friars who had come to the island in 1641.

The Portuguese immigrated to Puerto Rico in such large numbers that by the mid 1500s Portuguese settlers outnumbered the Spaniards, according to  “A Nation upon the Ocean Sea: Portugal’s Atlantic Diaspora and the Crisis of the Spanish Empire, 1492-1640” by Daviken Studnicki-Gizbert.

The Portuguese Puerto Rican DNA discussion is pretty recent. There have been conversations on Reddit about the subject and a few YouTube videos exist of Puerto Ricans revealing they have more Portuguese blood than Spanish. Eventually, a larger number of Puerto Ricans who have their DNA tested will know their actual Portuguese percentage. This info will hopefully lead to additional knowledge and discussion about Puerto Ricans with Portuguese ancestry, also known as Portu Ricans.

Posted in Technology, Trends

Figuring Out Your Ancestry – Making Sense of Your DNA Results

PV_DNA_Pie_ChartThis month, after thinking about the possibilities for years, I received my DNA ancestry results from Ancestry.com. It was a much desired Christmas gift that cost about $80 and a month of excitement and anxiety. I began 2018 finally learning about my ancestral heritage, but after the climactic reveal, I was left wanting to know much more. This quest for specific genetic information of myself led me to multiple questions that eventually left some doubt in my initial DNA findings.  I now, however, have made sense of the numbers and am confident in stating I am 55 percent European, 21 percent African, 21 percent Native American, and three percent Middle Eastern.

I was informed something to that effect with my first results but with such a sensitive and important matter, I needed to find a reliable way to verify the complex information.  I wanted to see how accurate these initial numbers were, so I requested a second DNA analysis from another company. I noticed a significant difference in the ethnicity results. I then submitted my raw data file – which can be downloaded after your results are completed – to a third company to find yet another surprisingly slight variation. I decided that I would cross-reference as many results as possible to confidently determine the breakdown of my own ethnicity.

I took my raw DNA data file and provided it to three free online sites/tools for their analysis, paid $20 to have my DNA analyzed by one company, bought an online app for $5 for another analysis and requested a free review from another company. In total, I was able to compare eight different sets of my DNA results. I entered the data in a color-coded multi-tabbed spreadsheet and averaged out related results to create one trustworthy master set of scientifically sound data that I could fully own and faithfully believe and pronounce.

For this research, I compared my DNA analysis data from the following companies: Ancestry.com, FamilyTreeDNA, My Heritage, DNA.land, GenCove, WeGene, GenePlaza.com, and GEDmatch.com.

After several hours of crunching numbers and analyzing patterns I have determined, with overlapping evidence, that I am 25 percent Spanish (numbers were in the 22-30 percent range but averaged out at 25.) I learned that my Africanness mainly originates from Nigeria/West Africa, my Taino indigenous blood can be traced to the Mayan and Amazonian people of South America, and I was surprised to find out that I am about three percent Ashkenazi European Jewish.

DNA ancestral testing is very popular right now and as the cost of tests become more affordable, DNA testing will become even more widely accessible.  I think everyone should have his/her DNA tested. I now have a broader world perspective of who I am and where my ancestors came from. I look forward to learning more about my diverse historical ethnic background and making meaningful connections with my ancestors.

Posted in Technology, Trends

Why I Chose a Kindle Fire Over the New iPad

(Photo courtesy of Wired.com.)

I use a Mac and an iPhone and recently set up Wi-Fi at home, mainly because I had been thinking about getting a tablet. I of course had been thinking of an iPad for some time, but price had been a big factor in my holding off the decision to buy my first tablet. My Macbook Pro and iPhone 4S keep me well connected and I paid a lot for them, so I thought I’d hold out on an iPad until the price went down to about the $299 range.

While doing research on tablets, the first thing I learned was to decide if I really wanted one and where would I mostly use it. I would mainly use it reading on the bus or subway or while I’m home. I just got Wi-Fi at home so I thought, why not? I basically wanted a larger version of my phone to read in bed.

I was immediately impressed with Amazon’s Kindle Fire. At $200 I’d get all I need. I live off my laptop at home and my phone keeps me connected all day. Then I noticed the Barnes & Nobel Nook and it was a tough decision. I went with the Kindle vs. the Nook because I had already been an Amazon customer and it offered more books, apps, and overall entertainment to download. I’ve been using it for two weeks now and I’m happy with the purchase.

The weight of the Kindle was the first thing that got my attention. I thought it would weigh less and be quite flimsy. But it was sturdy and the quality of the glass was just as good as Apple’s. The size was pretty perfect. I could comfortably hold it with one hand. The Internet experience was fine, the sound and brightness sufficient, and the apps were cool enough.

Of course, you get what you pay for. Apple’s out of this world when it comes to quality electronic products and the future of technology in general, but Amazon has a really hot item on its hands with the Kindle Fire. Recent news shows that Amazon is making some good money off a tablet that some say is really an e-reader with Internet access.

If Apple makes a mini-iPad, as rumors have it, and sells it for a starting price of $299, it might even do more phenomenally in the tablet wars. After ordering my first Kindle, I did get to hold and use a Samsung Galaxy Tab and I would have gone with that if I wanted something in between the technology and price of the Kindle Fire and the New iPad.

If you’re loving your iPad, Kindle, Nook, Galaxy Tab or whatever, feel free to comment below. If you’re thinking about getting a tablet, do your research, decide what you’re going to use it for, and how much you’re willing to pay for it.

I’m really digging the Kindle Fire but think eventually I’ll own an iPad.  However, kudos to the Kindle for now. But then again, you never really know how big this tablet thing might get. Target and Walmart are probably thinking of making their own, who knows?

Posted in Social Media, Trends

Restaurants and Social Media

Image courtesy of socialmediarestaurant.com

Social media is the best way for a company or brand to truly connect with their customers, and recent data shows that 55 percent of adults use it to find information on restaurants. A Pew Research Center study released last month found that about 55 percent of adults seek out information about restaurants, bars and clubs, and that those adults are more likely to be women, young adults, and technology adopters. Of that number, 51 percent look to the Internet for that information; 38 percent relied on search engines, 17 percent on specialty web sites, and 3 percent on social media sites or Twitter.

Today along with websites, Facebook pages, and Twitter accounts, restaurants also utilize other social networks particular to the industry like Yelp and Urban Spoon. Many social media-savvy customers use sites like Foodspotting, Open Table, and Zagat to report dining experiences and favorite foods. Customers are also using location-based social sites like Foursquare to check-in to restaurants which promotes the business to their network of friends.

So the next time you dine out, check out the Internet first, check-in to the place of your choice, and write an online review. Restaurants are looking at this activity and some offer special deals to customers using social media to promote their businesses.

If I missed any other restaurant-related social sites, please feel free to leave a comment below.

(Disclosure: The author of this post/blog is a communication manager for a Latin restaurant in NYC.)