Rolling Stone Planning Social Network

Posted on April 12, 2007

Andrea Feczko, a student taking the Digital Journalism: Blogging course at New York University, Spring 2007, broke the news about a new social network from Rolling Stone that is in the works. Keith Blanchard, Wenner Media's executive director, was visiting Feczko's class and talked about plans for a social networking site.

Rolling Stone is the "authority figure" for judging music (just check out all their Wikipedia links), which doesn't reflect this generation's obsession with consumer-generated content. Blanchard plans to launch a separate site that will be a social network for music fans, complete with profiles and the ability to have a say in their "Best of" lists. Blanchard called it the "American Idol version of lists." Let's hope Sanjaya doesn't make it on any of those.

Blanchard also plans on digitizing all 1,000 back issues of Rolling Stone, to be available on the website or to purchase as a DVD set. This may be done by Christmas, so you can check Dad off the list.

I think's makeover is highly overdue, and this is the perfect way to do it: keep the magazine just the way it is but add another online element that embodies youth culture.

When it comes to social networking Rolling Stone will be playing catchup. GigaOm notes that the Mog social network is focused on music. That's one competitor. Other competition includes MySpace, which is known for its strong music section, and YouTube, which has lots of music videos and independent artist channels. Rolling Stone may have decided that sites like these are a threat to its future and they need to either compete or be left behind. Andrea Feczko's opening paragraph gives the impression that Rolling Stone is already falling behind.
When Keith Blanchard, Wenner Media's executive director for online media, including Us Weekly, Rolling Stone, and Men's Journal, asked our journalism class how many people visit Rolling Stone's website, only one person raised his hand.
Mashable has already panned is predicting that Rolling Stone's social network will be lame. More discussion of this topic can be found TechCrunch and on Google Blog Search.

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