Boone Community Network logs into High Country

By Jesse Campbell (jesse.campbell@mountaintimes.com)



Article Published: May. 2, 2013 | Modified: May. 2, 2013
Boone Community Network logs into High Country

According to founder Rio Tazewell, the Boone Community Network, a locally based social media network, will help connect community members to happenings in the High Country.
Photos courtesy of Boone Community Network



Facebook has some new competition, and it’s not Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn or any of the other usual suspects.

But it is a unique mix of all the above.

Beginning in June, a new networking site, Boone Community Network, will launch a prototype website that looks to fill the gaps the other networks have not.

Founder Rio Tazewell, of Boone, said the up-and-coming network is different than the traditional sites in that it will have a locally driven emphasis that will better connect the community to what is happening in Watauga County.

“We really hope this network will serve to bridge the divide between the university and the local community, because I think it is pretty well known there is a pretty big divide there, and a lot of students are not aware of what is available in the local community,” Tazewell said.

“I think they would like to be, and I think everyone in the community would benefit if students were involved. I went to Appalachian State, and much of that time I was unaware of what was available in the community. It wasn’t until I started working with a nonprofit that I became aware of what is here, because there is so much.”

As for the site’s format, Tazewell said he is not trying to reinvent the wheel, but to take the “best parts” from the existing social media behemoths.

“This is really just an integration of things already in existence,” Tazewell said. “We are just taking the most useful things from other social media sites and putting them in a local framework.”

Like Facebook, BCN will allow users to create profiles and list basic information.

Instead of “Liking” pages and other interests, users will use hashtags, like on Twitter, to find other users who are like them or share those same interests. “The tags will be used as the primary way people explain who they are,” Tazewell said.

Another unique feature of the site is it will also offer a community calendar, so users can create events in real time.

“People can use the calendar to promote events they might otherwise just do with friends,” Tazewell said. “What really makes BCN unique is it is 100 percent tied to the local community. There will be no presence on the network that isn’t local.”

The calendar allows people to sell goods, skills and services — sort of like Craigslist.

“Unlike Craigslist, this site will be public and not anonymous,” Tazewell said. “You will have a profile attached to whatever you do, so you know who you are doing business with.”

Like other networking sites, BCN will not target a specific audience, just as long as they live in Watauga County.

“This site will be easier to search for specific things,” Tazewell said. “It is user-friendly and easy to navigate.”

Tazewell said the idea to launch the site came from a discussion group of local professionals from different backgrounds at his home about six months ago.

“I called it an interdisciplinary discussion group,” Tazewell said. “We talked about what community meant, and this idea of community integration came about. An idea for a website was proposed and the idea for a social network came out of that.”

After conducting some research, Tazewell discovered similar sites, but nothing exactly like what he is doing with BCN.

“That’s pretty surprising,” Tazewell said. “We are hoping to create a replicable model that can be scaled out to other communities.”

For more information on the new site, search “Boone Community Network” in the search box on Facebook.

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