Five years. It’s a long time by most standards, but to be working at something that you love doing for five years, it’s a blessing. Social Blend was born out of the need for a podcast that was originally for the community from Mixx, but also created out of a firm idea as to how this ground-breaking thing called Social Media would revolutionize the way we see the internet, technology in general, and how content was shared.
In the first phase, my original co-hosts, Jay Fowler and Brian Hill, and I were addicts to the social media bug. We were early adopters, taking on board all kinds of social platforms, from the giants of the early days (being Digg and Reddit), the new toddlers on the block (Twitter and Facebook at the time), and those that never lasted as long as some hoped (Pownce and Plurk as examples).
As Social Blend became the go-to podcast for both the staff and users of Mixx.com, it also covered how social media was changing the landscape. We rode the wave of the new media format – occasionally in a controversial fashion, which resulted in insults (at best) and death threats (at worst).
But, I think more importantly, we correctly predicted and had a clear vision as to where social media would end up: in the psyche of the mainstream.
In the opening year of Social Blend, we began to notice that news was breaking much quicker on social media than it was on TV and other sources. This is commonplace, perhaps even mundane now, but in 2007 and 2008 it was an extremely new phenomenon and an incredible experience to be a part of.
As the new media formats evolved into mainstream, SB also evolved. With the death of Mixx.com at the beginning of 2011, we lost a core and key component of our audience and, for some time, were lost in this difficult void, searching for a new niche that suited the show in attitude and style.
Taking a lesson from the beginning of our West Memphis Three reportage in 2009, and also by luck of chance, we accidentally stumbled across our new sub-niche in the form of the England Riots in 2011. We noticed the tense and significant moment was getting zero coverage on American TV news, and zoned in on the event and the news for an episode.
The reaction was immediate. We received a great deal of positive impact from that episode – and noticed the return of the insults and death threats… which meant we had pricked the right nerves. In 2011 and 2012, Social Blend became a show that zoned in on news events not being covered in the United States, while also being a source for significant developments in social media, and what was getting the most attention on the web.
This advanced even further in 2012, when we began to stumble across odd stories getting no attention at all (some might call them curiosities) and deconstruct them and analyze them. In addition, we began to expose fads as frauds, as SB became the first podcast to unveil Kony 2012 as the scam that it was, compiling evidence and discussing the true motivations. This analysis also generated feedback – good and bad – which also like the previously mentioned hullabaloos (and the future discourse on universal health care on Reddit and in a different episode), resulted in more insults and death threats yet again.
This characteristic of following up on analysis of curiosities and intriguing news stories not getting mainstream coverage is an aspect I’d like to continue to evolve in the new BlendoveR podcast if at all possible. In fact, I already have some news items in mind and lined up…
Perhaps more importantly, Social Blend from year one became a source of irreverent and no-holds-barred attitude. From the serious expulsions of bile, piss, vinegar, and anger, to the off-the-walls explicit humor as well, the podcast held a “nothing is sacred” attitude that permeated through the entire history of the show, giving us a unique voice in the ether of the tubes.
For some, while SB was “just another podcast”, for me it was a labor of love, sleepless nights, migraines, learning curves, prolonged hours of research, experimentation, and (when it boils down to it) workaholism. The last five years have been a blessing, yes, but has also been an incredible amount of work.
Notwithstanding this, I always believed that the Blend should be free, that we would never cave in to advertising or sponsorships on the show. The exception we had was some Google Ad-Sense links on the web site, which was owned by Brian Hill to assist with hosting costs – though this never generated anything near “break even” status.
Although entrepreneurs and the social media consultant wannabe morons were trying to work out how to monetize, I was ensuring that we stayed free, and that we did it for free. This was significant to me. I didn’t covet profit or potential monies to replace the motivation of “doing the show because we love it”. If we didn’t love it, why do it? But we did, and it was important to me for the integrity of the show to stay within that respect. I think many of our listeners appreciated this.
As I close out this harangue of memories, I’d like to thank all of those who’ve served as co-hosts since 2007: Jay Fowler, Brian Hill, Tamar Weinberg, Josh Olson, Reem Abeidoh, Terr Ciavarra, as well as Corey Koehler who served as co-host on the Craniumelody music versions of Social Blend.
Thanks also to those of you who guested on the show. You know who you are.
But more significantly, thanks to YOU, our listeners, who have stuck with us through all this time. Social Blend has been a wild ride… but if you think that is over, just wait until you hear the new BlendoveR podcast.
See you on the other side, over at BlendoveR.com.
- Greg Davies
Presented by Greg Davies (cGt2099 from cGt2099.com), Terr Ciavarra (Media Nox), and Jay Fowler (SilentJay74 from JuicySnake.com) the Social Blend is a fun, and hard-hitting, podcast, with no respect for rules.