The internet has become a complete 21st century universe unto itself. There is almost nothing that can’t be accomplished, once entering virtual space: shopping, educational programs, research on any topic at all, games and recreation, and contacting friends and family. All this and more can be done without stepping away from the keyboard.
Arguably among the top five most popular ways to use the internet is for social networking. Everyone knows someone who uses Facebook, or Twitter, or more lately, Reddit. Pinterest is becoming commonplace, and Digg had it’s heyday. These are the places that most folks between the ages of 16 and 49 will at least say, “Yes, I’ve heard of that.” Many will take it a step further, admitting to participating in one, or maybe all of them.
But for those who have a desire for a more substantial social networking experience, and who seek a more structured online environment that targets a more specific set of interests, a young man named Jarret Myer is cornering the market on what’s up-and-coming for the Y and Z generations.
Uproxx:The Culture of What’s Buzzing, is everything its title implies, and quite a bit more. It’s like an online newspaper, but with an eye-popping format full of links to “the” very most current events relevant to the 18-34 age group. (The Nielson Social Media Report found that age group to have the highest social media participation in the U.S.) And in addition, Uproxx offers free and easy access to the social networking experience that has become the standard for the majority of internet users.
Jarret Myer was born in February of 1973. When he founded Uproxx in August of 2008, he brought a surprising wealth of media experience to the table. He co-founded Rawkus Records with Brian Brater* and James Murdoch in 1996, and helped produce some of the most popular hip-hop artists of the last decade. As the popularity of social media began to grow in the mid-2000s, Jarret developed his idea for a forum that combined the best of the entertainment world with everything everyone loves about Facebook, and Uproxx was born, bringing with it an ideal that was unprecedented. Today,Uproxx offers readers the chance to comment and connect on what’s happening in the news and entertainment world on a day-to-day basis, as well as providing access to a collection of the most popular blogs running, including Film Drunk and Kissing Suzy Kolber.
However, no market corner is free from competition, and a gentleman by the name of Marcus Hirn is bringing a new fight to Myer’s block with his new kid, Thruzt.
Thruzt puts a new spin on the social networking game, by making it just that: a game. Hirn invites users to submit content on whatever interests them, and then employ craft and cleverness to attract attention and accumulate a following. Founded in May of this year, the layout of Hirn’s site is Pinterest-esque and loaded with participation. Content on nearly anything nameable is categorized according to “paths.” Choosing a path offers access to a seemingly endless assortment of blogs, articles, and reviews. Some are shared from other sites. Others are original work submitted by members. All are opportunities to participate by commenting on submissions, voting for or against submissions, (a.k.a “thruzting” or “nixing”) and of course submitting new material. In so doing, Thruzt brings current events and relevant interests into an accessible, broadened format while offering something other social networking sites do not: a chance to give much stronger broadcast to new voices discussing any given topic Thruzt offers, maybe even real, bankable notoriety and fame.
Marcus Hirn brings the total package to bear with his latest endeavor. The LAist describes him as a media guru. He has nearly 2 decades of IT experience, as well as a Master’s Degree specializing in business law, with a minor in human rights law, from Uppsala University in Sweden. He has worked as a CEO, a CIO, and a webmaster for several different companies in the U.S. and abroad. He’s multilingual regarding both spoken and computer languages. Over the last five years, as established social network sites have repeatedly changed their algorithms in an effort to keep user rates high, resulting in lost traffic due to frustrations with those changes, Hirn has looked for a way to use all of his skill and experience to scoop up a disenfranchised branch of the media market.
Uproxx seems to be maintaining the advantage with establishment and relevance, but time will tell if Hirn’s Thruzt will nudge Myer aside for a bigger piece of the action.
(*Brian Brater is also a co-founder on Uproxx.)