Even though he was unable to travel to Spain [es] to receive the prize for “Best Latin American Blog” in the contest [es] sponsored by the Spanish newspaper 20 Minutos, Carlos Suasnavas is humbled by the recognition and dedicates it to his readers. The blog, which he co-writes with Evan from Argentina, is called Sentando Frente Al Mundo [es] (Sitting in Front of the World) and was chosen by a jury and by other bloggers. In this interview from his hometown of Quito, he shares a little about his reasons for having a blog in the first place and about why he believes he may have more readers outside of Ecuador.
Carlos Suasnavas in an special portrait for this interview in Quito, Ecuador. Courtesy of Suasnavas
Milton Ramirez: Who is Carlos Suasnavas?
Carlos Suasnavas: Carlos Suasnavas is a 37-year-old Ecuadorian, who loves a good book, classic literature, science in general and who tries to share something on his blog that he has read, learned or has impacted him deeply. He's also a businessman, aware of the economic situation of his country, the welfare of their workers and customer satisfaction.
MR: Your blog is summarized in the expression “Sitting in Front of the World” What does that mean for you?
CS: It means that you and I or anyone else are lucky enough to be able to sit in front of the window of the internet which gives us the knowledge of cultures, customs, stories, lifestyles and attractions of this small blue planet. Personally, I feel privileged to be born in this era where we have this wonderful window to the world on our desk. Yet I cannot understand that there are people who only come to look for pornography or celebrity gossip when you have at your disposal the ONLY tool that brings to your home virtually all human history, art, science, technology, politics, as well as your planet, its geography, animals and a thousand other things to your home. Sometimes we do not consider how fortunate we are to have any information from anywhere in the world just a click away. My blog's name, Sentado frente al mundo, encompasses the whole idea.
MR: What do you think about Ecuadorian blogosphere and as habitual reader, which would be your favorites?
CS: Regarding Ecuadorian blogs, as in everywhere, you have high quality blogs, but also from the others. It is that there are still bloggers who think the rest of us are interested to know about their private, emotional, or sexual life, but since a blog is free they can do it and there are no rules to follow, therefore you also find a lot of garbage out there. And since blogs are global, you also have readers for everything too.
On my Bloglines account I check the good classic Ecuadorian blogs, that remain since I started and learned from them, such as CeroCuatro [es], Aura Neurotica [es], La Gaby [es], Atrapasueños [es], Ecuador Ciencia [es], Tecnodatum [es], Sueños y Cuentos [es], and El Apestado [es]
MR: In an recent video interview you said that people blog to unburden themselves. Do you have a favorite post in which you unburdened yourself and why?
CS: As you all know, my blog had been in an evolutionary process, from being a personal blog to what it is today. In the midst of that process, several posts remain from the romantic stage and which I recall with great affection such as “Angels and Demons‘ which was a very simple text about a woman who was very important in my life, but I liked that text very much and which I have seen copied on many blogs, some provided the source, others didn't (which is not something that really interests me), I have seen it in personal spaces, forums, and once someone showed me a photoshopped picture with the text as a postcard. Another curious thing was the e-mail I received containing a text of another post of mine called ‘Thrown Cards.’
These are things that once bothered me, but now I look back and I feel really proud. And like I said, those were other times and my motivation at that time also was different.
I have always written to unburden myself, but I've tried to be as careful as to what to reveal from my personal life. I've shown the world only what I wanted them to know about me. If one believes that because one has read my blog one completely knows Carlos Suasnavas, then one is wrong.
MR: How are Ecuadorian blogs contributing to conversation by citizens? Why do you think your posts are read mostly by foreigners rather than Ecuadorians.
CS: I do not believe such dialogue is being built because a blog by nature is biased. Beginning with the President, we complain about how printed press and television media is biased, what can we expect from a blog that is written by someone according to the reality in which they live? There are blogs for and against the government. So far I have not seen a single one which is fair. Until there is fairness, dialogue cannot exist. What takes place are debates in which everyone thinks he or she are the owners of the truth.
The fact that my blog has more foreign readers, I think it is due to two specific situations. First, thanks to the charisma that comes from my co-blogger, Evan, who is Argentinian and shares the same tastes in topics that we post. When I want to change or change gears on my blog as I did a year ago, she captured my ideas perfectly. The other reason may be that my blog there is no morbidity, politics or my personal life, topics that Ecuadorians enjoy to read.
MR: How has the perception of the blogger/entrepreneur Carlos Suasnavas changed in the national media since you received your award as Best Latin American blog?
CS: It is a coincidence that I am an entrepreneur and blogger at the same time, and it was another happy coincidence that I won the Best Latin American Blog. A high school or college student, a housewife or any office employee could have won it. It could also be won by a journalist, but this is the beauty of freedom of the Internet, you do not need to categorize yourself in only one activity or show your diploma to open your own blog. It is an activity where your diploma does not matter, it only matters if people like what you publish and they continue to read.
I don't know if the media looks at me differently. I do know my friends don't. Admittedly, this award has given me enough media coverture, some press interviews, but from there, it did not change anything. The only thing that I appreciate is the increased traffic to my blog, that my blog is being read more and the pleasant satisfaction of knowing that it helped to increase a bit the general culture any reader.