I hadn’t long been a member of Fab.com, the relatively new Facebook-connected social networking site for gay men. I liked it. Sleek, clean and cool, the network was easy to navigate and understand. I just wish it had caught on steam, especially in the Carolinas.

But now, the site is changing. Fab.com writes:

We’ve had a lot of fun building toward that vision and we’ve met some incredible people along the way. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed and appreciated your experience with us. Your participation and contribution to fab.com has been the core of our popularity.

This past year has been a monumental year for gay rights and acceptance. From the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, to court victories over Prop 8, “Born This Way,” the President walking away from the Defense of Marriage Act, and the impact of the It Gets Better Project, this has been an incredible year of progress.

As we reflected on these developments, we realized that all of this progress has diminished the need for a gay-specific social network. We don’t need a gay Facebook or a gay Yelp or a gay Foursquare or a gay Groupon. The original versions are fantastic, and we are becoming more and more integrated into the mainstream.

At the same time, we recognized that one of the aspects of fab that we enjoy the most and that our users are getting great value from — providing great deals on amazing products and services — has little to do with sexual orientation. A great find is a great find and a great deal is a great deal, regardless of who you are.

No need for a gay-specific social network? It’s an interesting thought, and the same concept could be thrown into any scenario: Gay newspapers? Gay TV networks? Gay community centers? Gay bars?

It’s true that LGBT folks are “mainstreaming” more and more. I hate the term, by the way. “Mainstreaming,” urgh — it reminds me of Showtime’s “True Blood” and seems to compare us to vampires. Regardless, I can’t ignore the reality. Though there’s still an awful lot of queer folks who live in places where “mainstreaming” isn’t an option, it’s happening. The trend can be found even in places like Charlotte. While the Queen City isn’t a friend politically or religiously to LGBT people, our Uptown bars, clubs and restaurants are mostly gay and straight, mixed crowds and many openly welcome gay business.

I’m excited to see exactly what Fab.com operators have in mind. After all, I like design as much as I like meeting other gay people. It’ll be interesting see just how they handle going from a gay social network to a “love of design”-driven site. I hope they surprise me.

What to sign up for an early launch/invite, too? Click here: http://fab.com/uo7fdf

(Disclosure: Fab.com will count each person who signs up for an invite through this link. The more people I invite, the earlier I get access to the site, plus some other benefits. The same goes for you once you sign up.)

Wow. Everyone seems to be having a field day with this topic of print media vs. online media. Last week, the gay media world and blogosphere discussed the issue in-depth. That conversation continued into this week. On Monday, Washington Blade editor Kevin Naff responded to Michael Lavers’ original Village Voice piece, which caused all the uproar beginning last Tuesday. On Tuesday, Adam Bink was able to round up opinions from new media folks like John Aravosis, Bil Browning and others (including me). And, on Tuesday as well, ColorLinesKai Wright brought together three queer bloggers of color to discuss the future of LGBT media, Obama’s politics and the future of the community in general.

Wright, a former Washington Blade writer, spoke with Rod McCullom of Rod 2.0; Miriam Zoila Pérez, an editor at Feministing and the founder of Radical Doula; and Pam Spaulding of PamsHouseBlend.com.

Continue reading this post…

Last week’s debate over the current state and future of LGBT print media carries into this week, it seems.

Last Tuesday, gay journalist Michael Lavers wrote a piece, “Gay Print Media on the Wane,” for the Village Voice. I responded to that piece with my own thoughts last week, as did other journalists and bloggers. On Friday, I wrapped up a good portion of the week’s discussion at Bilerico.com.

Today, Washington Blade editor Kevin Naff publishes his own response, calling Lavers’ piece an “unfair attack” and claiming Lavers failed to include accurate information, fact check his work or include interviews with the subjects of his article.

Naff writes:

The recent Village Voice story, “Gay print media on the wane,” by Michael Lavers is riddled with factual errors and suffers from conflicts of interest and general amateurishness. Lavers and his editors clearly set out to write a self-serving story about the supposed demise of LGBT news outlets. And they didn’t let pesky facts get in the way of their hypothesis.

Lavers interviewed me for the story and it became clear from the outset that he had already decided what to write — he just needed a few supportive quotes to fill out the piece. Hence, nothing I said to him made it into the final story. He spends significant time writing about the Blade, Window Media and the Advocate, but no one from those entities is quoted or allowed to respond to Lavers’ irresponsible and baseless claims. Instead of talking to professionals working in LGBT media, Lavers quotes an anthropology professor whose qualifications and experience in niche media are never revealed.

Of Lavers’ conflict of interest — which is never disclosed in the story — Naff writes:

What’s more disturbing than the lack of basic fact checking (what an old-school concept!) is that Lavers fails to disclose his work for Edge Media Network, a company he describes as “fast becoming the new gay press establishment,” a grandiose claim he offers no evidence to support. He also conveniently omits the fact that one of Edge’s senior executives, William Kapfer, was an officer of Window Media, the Blade’s former parent company that is criticized in the story. It sounds like Kapfer, an Edge marketer, wrote the story for Lavers.

Read Naff’s full thoughts at WashingtonBlade.com.

7

Is gay print media in its last throes?

Gay journo Michael Lavers, national news editor for Edge Media Network, took to discussing the state of LGBT print media in the Village Voice‘s annual “Queer Issue” this week.

His piece, titled “Gay Print Media on the Wane,” rehashes the demise of Window Media — once the nation’s largest LGBT newspaper company — and delves into the possible future of gay journalism.

In the story, Lavers writes that the rise of digital media has given traditional print media a run for its money. No doubt there. He also details some specific challenges to gay media and proclaims some new “kings of the forest” (he calls them the “new gay press establishment”) in the process.

Continue reading this post…

0

Charlotte O’s social media conference

You know the media world has definitively changed when the local daily newspaper announces its hosting a social media conference.

The Charlotte Observer will host their day-long conference on Jan. 23 at Queens University:

Throughout the day, you’ll hear from some of the most forward-thinking social media gurus in the region, including Jeff Elder, Lisa Hoffman, Crystal Dempsey, Scott Hepburn and Jason Silverstein. Observer Editor Rick Thames will deliver the keynote address. Capping it all off will be a panel discussion on “The Next Hot Thing in Social Networking.”

The event is only $30, but there are only 200 spaces open. If you want to go, you’d better register quick. Get more info and register at ObserverSocialMedia.com.