Last week I had a chance to see a demo of BlackPlanet NEXT and one of the first things that came to my mind was this is not your old school social network. Showing my age, I was one of the old BlackPlanet users from the early 2000s . Before Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, and all of the rest there was BlackPlanet.
BlackPlanet was one of the web's first true social networks. BlackPlanet since then has evolved and grown over the years all while watching the new kids on the block grow to record breaking numbers. Still growing themselves and seeing more sites curate along with focusing on mobile, Interactive One, BlackPlanet's parent company has been hard at work building the next big social and mobile experience for its demographic. That experience is BlackPlanet NEXT.
If you're use to the old school or current users who don't like change don't worry the current version of BlackPlanet will still be available. Below are a few screenshot and the press announcement.
To sign-up for BlackPlanet NEXT visit next.blackplanet.com
INTERACTIVE ONE LAUNCHES BLACKPLANET NEXT,
A NEW SOCIAL EXPERIENCE THAT WILL CHANGE THE WAY
BLACK AMERICANS COMMUNICATE ONLINE
The site will target young Americans seeking a more culturally relevant way
to connect with people, places and brands online
NEW YORK, NY—February 15, 2012—Interactive One, the largest digital media company serving Black Americans, announced today the launch of BlackPlanet Next, the next evolution of the iconic BlackPlanet.com social networking website. BlackPlanet Next is a social curation engine targeted towards the African-American consumer that makes connecting with friends and discovering new information easier, more fun and more culturally relevant.
In 1999, before MySpace, Friendster and Facebook, BlackPlanet.com launched as the first social networking site targeting African Americans.Â The site has since grown to serve 2 million users worldwide, making the BlackPlanet name an industry mainstay and a significant communication tool within the Black community.
“Many websites have been created to target African Americans, but very few digital products exist specifically for those who see the world through a Black lens,” said Navarrow Wright, Chief Technology Officer, Interactive One. “BlackPlanet Next will not only connect millions of people online, but also it will serve as a reminder of the importance of diversity of professionals and products in the technology industry.”
Â Local, Social, Mobile
BlackPlanet Next connects people with locally relevant information through their friends and other BlackPlanet Next users who share their interests. Each member can add his or her favorite places such as restaurants, clothing stores and live art venues to the site and check in whenever they visit. BlackPlanet Next will suggest other places he or she might like based on the reviews and suggestions of the BlackPlanet Next community.
Keeping in touch with family and friends, and sharing lifeâs moments is easier with BlackPlanet Next. Users can post photos and short updates that appear on their connectionsâ activity stream. The activity stream can also be viewed by category including photos, videos, link and updates with a quick keystroke.
Connecting through music is a cultural tradition among African Americans and an important feature of the new BlackPlanet Next. BlackPlanet Radio, the digital industry’s first social radio website targeted towards African Americans, was launched in November 2011 and allows users to discover new music in a variety of ways, as well as create playlists from a library of more than 14.5 million songs to share with their social network communities. By streaming straight from BlackPlanet Next, users can share their personally curated musical tastes with their online community.
BlackPlanet Next also serves as an aggregator, bringing together content from Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and more into a space curated by each user. By adding their favorite social networks to their BlackPlanet Next profiles, users’ followers can access all of their online content in one place. All of the features of BlackPlanet Next are available on a variety of mobile devices.
A Brand Connection
“BlackPlanet Next is the only sure way for brands to reach Black audiences in a social environment,” said Keith Bowen, Chief Revenue Officer at Interactive One. “There will be more opportunity to create custom branded experiences authentiacally connecting brands with their consumer. Brand Pages and traditional media opportunities are available as well. We look forward to working with our advertising partners on creative ways to connect with their target audiences.”