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Local social media site goes live

By Jesse Campbell (

Article Published: Aug. 22, 2013 | Modified: Aug. 22, 2013
Local social media site goes live

Boone Community Network — a new hyper-local social networking site that blends elements of Facebook and Twitter — is now live.

The site ( launched this past weekend, founder Rio Tazewell said.

The purpose of the emerging network is to better connect locals and Appalachian State University students with what’s 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 in a previous interview.

Unlike Facebook, every profile is visible to every other one in the network.

Instead of sending users friend requests, users can follow their activity, which is similar in format to Twitter, Tazewell said.

“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.”

The familiar hashtag feature, which has now found a home on Facebook, will also be used on BCN.

“The main thing that sets this apart from Facebook is BCN is completely local,” Tazewell said. “On Facebook, you can see everyone’s profile, but you are limited as to how much you can see. On BCN, everything will be public, and friending people means you want to get more updates on them.”

The site also borrows some components of Craigslist by offering a “marketplace” tab. Here, buyers can swap information, farmers can find a readily available marketing tool, and artists can connect with other creative minds — all in the spirit of community.

“The marketplace draws in people who normally wouldn’t have interest in social networking,” Tazewell said. “This provides a tangible use for folks other than socializing.”

Tazewell said the marketplace feature is a more direct approach, too.

“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.”

A community calendar complements the marketplace.

“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.”

If you’re in the mood for real life interaction — in addition to BCN — check out this weekend’s Howard Street Exchange Street Festival from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 25 in downtown Boone.

The street festival gives nonprofits, artists, musicians and other small businesses the chance to publicize their many talents and offerings, Tazewell said.

“This is an opportunity to network, meet new people and become aware of local businesses you may not be aware of,” Tazewell said. “It’s really a community celebration of what’s here in Boone and an opportunity to help the local economy by giving local businesses and artists (the ability) to vend directly to the public in the downtown.”

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