Laura is 54 now. She was born in a typical Colombian family back in those days, her mother was a housewife and her father a sergeant on the army, which is why since she was little she had the chance to get to know all kind of people in Colombia, and also some faces of injustice. Nowadays, her profession, lawyer, has allow her to help a lot of people on health care and to get their retirement money. She is the vice-president of the users’ association for Compensar, an entity in charged of the health for some Colombians according to the health system working here, she has also worked with the ministry of social protection, because she believes in equality.
She, as many women in Colombia, is the person in charged of bring money to her home and also takes care of some home works, which for her are absolutely important because she has to live in a “beautiful, clean home”, and have always delicious, healthy food for her daughter. That is why she has decided not to have an office, as many lawyers, but to have a home-office, from where she can take care of most of her projects. This decision has given her freedom to do her work and her pro-bono work. This is why internet has been such an important part for her development as professional.
I feel the need to point she did already have an active virtual social life, with WhatsApp, but, she could only interact with people she already knows. I guess that is the reason why when I talked to her about open Facebook, she was buzzing for the idea, because that way she was going to be able to reach out more persons who may support her or need her help. She has been working on a social network strategy, since 1 month ago, but she wants to be able to manage her own social networks, or at least understand what her community manager is doing and why, so opening Facebook, came with a short explanation on how does it work.
She is amazing learning, and understood many of the tools in minutes. Then she looked for her participation groups on health so she could be more informed around what is happening on the health scenes, but it did not stop there. Once we had liked all her important participation groups, she asked me to find her friends who have Facebook, who seemed a little amount of people compared to my difficulties trying to find someone who did not have Facebook already. We started looking for one friend, she helped me asking if she had already had Facebook, so we knew she did. Then we started looking for other friends of her, including one friend she remembers from school, who taught her so much but she could never get in touch with after school finished. We found just one person with that name, but today, we have no news from her being or not her school friend, because she has not reply to the add.
Her cousin, and best friend, lives in New York and though they talk to each other through WhatsApp, Skype and phone, the moment I saw her more excited asking me for someone, was when we looked her cousin up, who later that day add her and she told me with great emotion in her words. Now, one week later, she has learned a little bit more on how Facebook works and how she is going to manage her strategy to get to more people. In the meanwhile, she enjoys her cousin’s pictures and has asked me to help her make her own. Her two daughters are going to study abroad this fall, so it has brought her some excitement to know she is going to be able to get in touch with them and see their pictures which is something she is already enjoying.
Right now, Facebook has become some novelty in her life and she is absolutely excited about it and learning each day new tools. Yesterday, she could post a video about why it is necessary for everyone to vote for peace in Colombia, and felt really happy because all her (now 5) friends liked it.
She was able to find another stage to express herself and discuss topics with other people able to. So, even if it is now a novelty, now it has made her really happy to raise up her voice and speak up. And more important, I don’t know if this is going to be better for her or for the people she is going to be able to reach with her new entrepreneur page, because here, in Colombia, people have better access to the social networks than their rights because we are not use to know them, and now I know for sure, someone is going to be letting them know which their rights are.
Author: Laura Zapata
I started my music studies since I was a little kid. When I started college I decided to focus on musical composition, looking for cinematographic and theatrical composition. This link between sound and image took me to think about design as an option to add value to my career. Starting from understanding the dialogue between image and sound, I realized I wanted to take this further. Also, I have done the art direction for theatre plays. I helped organizing The First Democratic Culture Seminar in Bogotá. I am a feminist woman, trying to change my mind-sets at a time, so I can recognize it easily and make a chance at a time.