Power Struggle for Knoxville Social Media King?

Brandon Clarke KFQ, Popular, Questions 26 Comments


Several months ago we asked if Knoxville is/was/becoming a social media hotspot. Comments ranged from “Yes, Knoxville is social media mecca.” to “Yes! I too have bumped into people who “know” me from the net. Always fun.” Everyone seemingly agreed that the interwebs were alive and well in K-Town.

Today, there appears to be a new social media storm brewing. Several individuals and groups are trying to emerge as the “king” of Knoxville’s social media scene as tweet-ups and other gatherings are popping up like Dandelions along Pellissippi parkway.

So we ask, is there a galvanized king or queen reigning over the local social media scene? If not, is Knoxville in need of such a figure/institution?

Creative Commons License Photo by: Matt Hamm

Comments 26

  1. I have visions of social networking geeks working this out via online duel, perhaps Halo. Not that they are likely to agree on the “perfect” dueling platform. Which gets to my real point: social networking is all about communities of diversity. Somebody may enjoy the most traffic, or the most “followers”, but that doesn’t make them Queen or King of the Realm. It’s a motley crew out there. And I’m not saying this just because my wife’s blog and Facebook page gets a lot more traffic than mine…

  2. There’s no doubt about it to me that the Casey Peters is the KING of Social Media in the Knoxvegas. Close second would be LeVar Burton, I mean he’s not from Knoxville, but who didn’t love Reading Rainbow?

  3. @Gavin Baker: You’re a comedian Gavin. Take note that Brandon, king of everything, wrote this post.

    In response to the question, I don’t know that there is a power struggle but it does seem that a lot of “experts” are popping up around the area. Sadly, the ones who aren’t promoting themselves are usually the ones I would want to hire as my SM king.

  4. Not to be too serious here, but isn’t social media one of the outgrowths of the democratization of the Interwebs? Which means thar ain’t no king or queen. And really, thar ain’t no president either, right? Its just too early for this democracy to be that mature and organized. Who would be king or queen nationally? Mark Z? Biz? Marc and Nina? Nada, that’s who. But I’d vote for Cas Walker locally if we’re voting. He was the ultimate social media magnate.

  5. @CP and @Patrick Hunt: Cas Walker message to shoppers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFi-649Uezs

    BTW: I agree with @Patrick Hunt. The great thing about the social media scene around here (and probably anywhere) is its democratic flavor. Social media is a great tool for organizing groups of people (be it for socializing, community service, charity, politics, all of the above, or other reasons) who might otherwise never meet or interact.

    For people who aren’t a part of the “social media scene,” the cool thing to understand is that if used properly, social media is a great tool to build real-world community, connections, etc. There’s no need to have a king or queen; however, I tip my hat and am thankful for those who have taken the initiative to organize “tweet-ups,” blog about the community, and open my eyes to new ideas and things going on in Knoxville.

  6. Agree with @Patrick Hunt 100%. The general reaction in Knoxville, which I believe has a very healthy social network, is to resist anyone that exerts entitlement in the social space. Content is King. When people contribute meaningful content to the sphere, then they earn the respect of their peers.

    Also as @CP noted, experts are seemingly popping up everywhere. In reality, these experts are more like the jesters than royalty.

    If I had to pick one, however, we all know that @Gavin Baker secretly covets the thrown of King Knoxville’s Social media, so he can be King (for a day).

  7. I’m no king. But seriously I think people the community of people who are involved with twitter/facebook/blogs is great.

    I’m actually curious what Brandon was referring to?

  8. The great ‘thing” about social media is that you can be King or Queen of your own kingdom. There are so many realms of this medium that are yet unexplored that to claim dominion over it ALL is…well…arrogant.
    Instead of King of anything, I’d rather be considered the Robin Hood of my own Sherwood Forest – stealing from the rich and giving to the poor (but providing links to the original content, of course).
    I enjoy the band of “Merry Men” in Knoxville (many of them commenting on this post) and would rather run around creating havoc (traffic) while the Sheriff of Nottingham’s of Knoxville (big traditional PR and Marketing firms) try to enforce the laws of the Knoxville Social Media Kingdom as defined by them.
    But then again what do I know? Robin Hood was considered one of the “commoners.”

  9. If not, is Knoxville in need of such a figure/institution?

    No! We have the Blogfather of course but I think putting people on such pedestals does a disservice to others in the community. We have many exceptional “social media experts” that for reasons of luck or just not knowing the right person or not being in the right place at the right time or not being instalanched just haven’t hit the big scene. These people do not deserve any less credit than the lucky ones.As for competing with Tweetups et al these things have been going on longer than many of the people encouraging them have been around. Randy Neil (@knoxviews) gets credited with starting the area Blogfests and Rich Hailey (@rhailey) certainly organized the most. Glenn Reynolds (@instapundit) single-handedly introduced Knoxville to Serenity/Firefly via a blogger movie gathering. Oops. I’m drawing a blank on the driving force behind the Knoxville Tweetups (@digitarius would know) but they can be directed to a single person. Geek Breakfast was introduced to Knoxville by Scott Maentz (@scottmaentz). Cathy McCaughan (@cathymccaughan) has been quieting planting seeds for a Knoxville Barcamp. Michael Neel (@vinull) along with Wally McClure (@wbm) and other talented people brought Codestock to Knoxville showing that tech conferences can do well in Knoxville. (I personally hope we see more tech conferences brought here). Alex Lavidge (@alexlavidge) has really helped get us techies to meet face to face @overground and Leonard Knight (@lrknight) has added to it with Entrepreneurs of Knoxville. Knoxville has such raw talent. We have a remarkably strong social media community. I don’t think any one person really should be a king or queen because it is the community that has pulled us all together and given us the stature and respect. I don’t think any of us should be called experts because we are all learning social media as this watershed event continues to evolve. Doug aka @djuggler

  10. Now if somebody could dig up a video of that perpetual motion machine in the museum while it’s actually operating, that would be something!

    The one in the museum is a replica. The actual perpetual motion machine is still down in the cave and has a digital camera on it for the past 10 years waiting for the machine to stop but it’s showing no sign of slowing down. The first filming attempt started in 1954 and ran out of funding in 1968. The original films of the machine taken from 1954 to 1968 were stored in the Norris City Hall building but unfortunately were destroyed in the fire of 1978.

  11. Go me!

    If we go by who got onto Techcrunch first, that award goes to @jackstrove and @sadcox for this week’s AP fun.

    I don’t think there are any SM kings/queens here in Ktown nor do I think anyone is trying to be one. I think Doug appropriately recognized key individuals here in town who have done their part to help different communities thrive here in Ktown. Tweetups can be organized by anyone. I just threw an invite out not 10 mins ago for anyone who wants to drink some wine this afternoon. There are plenty of things going on around town between geek breakfast and coworking and networking groups and codestock and barcamp and YPK. I love that some people participate in most of those, some in only one. I think theres still room for more things like Social Media Club or 100 other different types of social groups out there and the 1000s still to be developed. Each one is probably going to have its own champion here in town.

  12. This post is great not because of the question…but because of the really informative responses and historic points of where Knoxville has been and gone to date with Social Media, sure content is king AND queen, its “pc” but ok, note taken.

    Given the comments, it seems that King or Queen is still a toss up and its time for someone to jump off a cliff and GO BIG!!! This person, people, or group will “be” by doing the biggest.

  13. @CP: I prefer supreme being myself. 🙂

    Not to derail the topic here, but instead of asking who is the head of social media for Knoxville maybe we should ask what social media is actually doing for Knoxville.

    It seems there is a lot of talk, but little doing coming out of Twitter, Facebook and their ilk. As Lieutenant Debbie Callahan said in Police Academy 3: “In America, talk is cheap.”

    I suggest we start using our recent advances in Web collaboration to start building things. That’s what will pull this country out of the current economic funk, and that’s what will ultimately improve the scrappy city of Knoxville.

  14. Hello,
    My daughter Sydney 10yrs old created a “Green” Twitter, her story can be read on the website BuddyCrossing, she has been interviewed by The Knoxville News Sentinel, WATE 6, Metro Pulse and is being featured for the City of Knoxville’s EarthFest on April 18th, 2009! BuddyCrossing is partnered with Trees for the Future which plants trees for all of our users! BuddyCrossing allows it’s users to connect to their Twitter accounts, send SMS messages and download our Iphone application to tweet on the go! We are local here in Maryville, TN – Please help us grow our local community and join us at EarthFest!

    BTW- We are also frequently mentioned on CNN’s Rick Sanchez! Look for us! BuddyCrossing

  15. Interesting article. I have been utilizing computer to computer connectivity since the days of the BBS (Bulletin Board System) and am quite familiar with the social networking boom. There is no real way to crown a king or queen of social media in my opinion. But if one must, they would have to consider candidates’ overall knowledge of the various tools available, conversion rates and number of success stories as deciding factors. I believe the latter of the two being the most important factors, as it does little good to know social media without being able to achieve your objectives with it. If one understands that, they will probably understand that social media is only a piece to a much larger puzzle called internet marketing.

    On a side note, I agree with Patrick that social media could greatly benefit Knoxville, along with other cities and the economy as a whole. Collaboration seems to be a common concept these days as well. I would enjoy collaborating and playing a roll in the benefit of my hometown, and potentially any other causes you may have in mind.

  16. Pingback: Which Knoxvillians Do You Want to See on Twitter? - Knoxify

  17. I just wrote a blog about this matter. I would think per capita, Knoxville has to have like 3 family members per household with a social site! VirtuallyKnoxville.com wants to be a big part, but doesn’t scripps or some big boy usually come along and muscle the top. Deep pockets, goes along way in “kingdoms”.

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