Interactive One launches BlackPlanet Next
KADEEN JONES Special to the AmNews | 2/15/2012, 7:20 p.m.
On Thursday, Feb. 16, Interactive One, the largest digital media company serving Black Americans, announces the launch of BlackPlanet Next, the newest addition to the BlackPlanet.com brand. BlackPlanet Next will be a social engine for African-Americans that will make interacting with friends and discovering new cultural information easier and more entertaining.
The original BlackPlanet.com, one of the most recognized brands among Black people, was the first social media site targeted at African-Americans. Founded in 1999, it predates social networking sites like MySpace, Friendster and Facebook and has continued to grow, now serving 2 million users worldwide, since the invention of these newcomers.
BlackPlanet Next works parallel to the existing Black
Planet.com but is a totally separate product. Unlike BlackPlanet.com, which functions as its own social media network where Black women and Black men meet to chat, discuss and engage on what matters to them, BlackPlanet Next aggregates the information users have on their Foursquare, Facebook and Twitter accounts, allowing them access to all of their online content in one place.
"BlackPlanet Next was created so there would be a website that would serve an underserved audience in a unique way," said Maria Weaver Watson, senior vice president of integrated marketing for Interactive One.
On BlackPlanet Next, users can post photos, videos, links and short updates that appear on their activity stream, which can be viewed by category on computers and a variety of mobile devices. Each member can add their favorite places, such as restaurants, stores and other venues, to the site and check in whenever they visit. BlackPlanet Next will also display personalized suggestions of other places the user might like based on the reviews and suggestions of other members of the BlackPlanet Next community.
Music is also an important factor in the Black community and the creators of BlackPlanet Next did not fail to incorporate it into the new site. BlackPlanet Next has a feature called BlackPlanet Radio, a personalized radio service launched in November 2011 that offers customized playlists and access to live streams across all of their radio stations, as well as on-demand music that can be shared across all the social networks that BlackPlanet Next users use.
"BlackPlanet Next allows us as Black people to bring our thoughts and ideas to the forefront. This is an outlet where we can give our opinion and put it on top of what's already there," said Wright. "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."
Online right now is BlackPlanet Next's invite process, where potential users can sign up for an invite to be one of the early users of BlackPlanet Next. To experience BlackPlanet Next, visit www.BlackPlanetNext.com.