Jim Long - Digital Media and Culture

Social Networks As the “New Television”

The real value proposition of social media is that it connects people on a deeply human level with hundreds, thousands, even millions of networked people across time and geography. Social networks, empowering core constituencies of passionate users around targeted, niche market content, are emerging as a powerful media marketforce.

As I googled around looking for evidence to support my belief, that vertical market social networks, that combine video content with social media, will be the drivers of future web growth, I once again went back to the well of Jeremia Owyang’s blog, WebStrategist. Web Strategist is a tremendously valuable repository of thought leadership on all things Web 2.0. Of particular interest to me has been Jeremiah’s posts on social networks. For anyone interested in dipping their toes in the water, he has a huge list of “white label” social networking solutions for you budding (like me) web entrepreneurs.

Earlier this year, August Capital’s David Hornik was featured on Web Strategist in Jennifer Jones’ audio podcast Marketing Voices. In it he
said a number of things that resonated with me.

This is the new television.

huge numbers of like minded people are getting together to engage in a conversation.

i think we’ll see increasingly specific social networks.

-David Hornik of August Capital

You’ll find the entire audio podcast at the end of this post.

He goes on to speak about how marketers need to associate their brand with
the meaningful conversations taking place on these social networks,
specifically vertically oriented networks. This brings me to two very
exiting developments in my transition from old media work horse, to new media
entrepreneur, that build on this rise in niche market content and social

Vertical Market Social Networks and Video, Telling Your
Community’s Story

I’m happy to announce that, last week, I joined the Board of Advisors for
BluChipz.com. I also came on as an investor in a now closed friends and
family round of funding. BluChipz CEO Craig Ridley is developing a social
network for athletes that gives voice to these young rising stars. Craig understands
that for a social network to be succesful, you have to give people the tools
to connect on a meaningful human level. Here’s Craig Ridley in his own


While I’ve demonstrated my confidence in Craig and his executive team with a significant financial investment, (suffice to say Craig HAD to buy lunch that day!) through my company Verge New Media, I’ve been investing time, money, energy, and all of my mental towards CraftyNation.com CraftyNation is a place where passionate, creative, crafty people can connect, share ideas, showcase their projects, and keep up on the world of craft. People who scrapbook, knit, bead, quilt, design and make beautiful things will be inspired and empowerd by each other AND by fun, converstaional, episodic video content. We’re designing CraftyNation so that the users are participants. We want members of CraftyNation community to have a stake in its development. We soft-launch a beta version this week just before our trip the the Craft Hobby Association show in Chicago this weekend!



Video As the New “Lingua Franca” of Online Content, Finding the Best Video Storytellers

A niche market social network that i frequent is b-roll.net, which has recently updated, adding teriffic video sharing capability, with rating, embedding, and bookmarking features. B-roll.net is sort of a neighborhood bar for old news cameramen like me. These are the best of the best folks, so check them out. Folks on this site will generally have shoulder, back, and knee problems from carrying professional TV cameras around for years (18 for me).
Kevin Johnson started the site as a place to share his personal stories from his overseas news assignments. Dissatisfied with one way communication, Johnson quickly realized the value of creating a place where TV news photogs can share ideas, often in a “vigorous” fashion. Here you’ll find the likes of “Lenslinger” Stewart Pittman, and video journalist proponent, and consultant, Michael Rosenblum. And, of course you’ll find me! If video is part of your web venture, b-roll.net is where you’ll find the best storytellers in the world.

So if social networks are in fact, the “new television”, what will the new channels be? And who is out there building them?

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