February 21, 2009

Our new look

socialmedia-logo-trimmedJD LasicaWelcome to the new Socialmedia.biz blog!

I’m happy to announce that Socialmedia.biz is now a group blog, with a wealth of talented contributors, as well as a network of business strategy consultants who understand the social media needs of large and midsize companies.

socialmedia-formerlogoI started blogging in May 2001 when Dave Winer, the father of blogging, gave me a free UserLand Manila blog. Since then, I hopped to MovableType and TypePad, changing the name from New Media Musings to Socialmedia.biz in 2005 because of the fast-paced changes in the mediasphere. (Thanks for the 1 million page views, Ben, Mena and SixApart.)

Today we’re throwing the switch on this new WordPress blog, and I believe this will be the last blogging platform I move to, barring some unexpected surprise. WordPress has become an astonishingly rich open source platform, with new advances, tools and widgets coming at a rapid clip from a global cadre of volunteers. (And, if you’re wondering, we’re using wordpress.org and hosting it ourselves at BlitzLocal.)

The big changes

You’ll immediately notice some major changes:

  • We now draw on a group of social media experts with deep knowledge of social networking, search, marketing, best-of-breed tools and the other stuff that makes social media such a popular phenomenon. Joanna, Ayelet, Chris, Christopher, Deltina and David have been blogging for years, and they’ll continue to bring their distinctive styles to the new Socialmedia.biz.
  • We’re going to be doing a lot of experiments here, using video, widgets and WordPress plug-ins to give readers a richer experience.
  • We still think of social media in broad terms — informed by developments in technology, video, journalism and more. At the same time, we will focus more heavily on the use of social media by businesses and organizations as well as individuals.

You’ll also notice some things that are askew. We’re a small team and so decided to iterate and improve the site as we move forward. That means that some spam comments and ill-formed formatting were carried over when 10,400 posts were imported from TypePad.

You’ll also notice some wet paint in other places. For instance, the videos on the front page, fed by RSS feeds from Vimeo and Blip.tv, aren’t working entirely properly, and the buttons on the video player are still a work in progress. If you see anything that’s bothersome, let us know and we’ll hop on it.

Hat tips

A few tips of the hat are in order, so please give it up for:

BlitzLocal, a startup in Boulder, Colo., that is hosting the site and was responsible for much of its development, with particular kudos to Chad King, Dennis Yu and Austin Stierler. I’ll be continuing to work with their dev team as we improve the site.

Chad Capellman (chadrem on Twitter), who served as CSS impresario and trouble-shooter during the launch.

I subscribed to Elegantthemes for the templates, or scaffolding, we used to build out the site, at Steve Garfield‘s suggestion.

A special thanks to Uta Ritke for creating the Socialmedia.biz logotype at the top of each page. And to my readers for selecting the winning logo.

Thanks to IntenseDebate, now part of WordPress, for the commenting system I’ll be installing.

And thanks, finally, to the WordPress team for creating the most collaborative, public-spirited community of blogging enthusiasts on the planet.

JD Lasica, founder of Socialmedia.biz, is now co-founder of the cruise discovery engine Cruiseable. See his About page, contact JD or follow him on Twitter or Google Plus.

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