How Jermaine Dupri Connects the Community


It's not every day that you get first row seats at a conversation with a known American record producer, songwriter, and rapper. This is a shot I took with my phone at Digital Age 2.0 Wednesday morning. With Jermaine Dupri, or Mr_Dupri on Twitter, is David Deal of iCrossing.

As I tweeted, I was watching @Mr_Dupri #dage20 with an iPad and iPhone in front of him.

When Twitter first came out, many of us used it to touch base with friends and communities because it wasn't used by so many. The stream was less overwhelming, content was actually the 135 characters or so you can type in the box, the links thrown around were fewer.

It was a similar impression for Mr. Dupri who thought one could have actual threads using the social network. Instead, he soon discovered, that wasn't the case. Twitter, as he put it, is a social notifying place and you pray to the social god that someone sees it and connects with it.

It's hard indeed to express your feelings in 135 characters. So he took a practical approach to solve the problem and developed Global14, a place where people can express those feelings — it's for those who connect with what's going on there.

On the site, he interacts personally with a highly engaged community of people that is 38,000 strong. Trading promises in Global14 is easier for those who resonate w the many topics that go on with young people as they listen to music. They have a very different listening style or mode today, a multichannel and multisensory approach.

Today, the Youth of America, as he put it, wants to be the DJ of their own lifestyle experience with a soundtrack. Global14 the blog was born to build those connections about his work, and to allow fans to connect with each other based upon interests. It's YouTube, Tumblr, Twitter all rolled into one.

It is also a forum for conversations that are going on, things that are on people's mind. When you earn attention like that, there's a lot more going on that affects people's lives than fashion, music, and gossip. It's your duty to talk about current news, for example.

Inside the community, people are signed up in different groups and can launch groups, too. Mr. Dupri blew up his record company site because it didn't allow for this kind of interaction with multiple things.

Connection agent

The difference between Twitter and a community like Global14, said Mr. Dupri, one is an invitation tool, the other a place where you can actually have the conversation. And the artist plans to open up the site to see the art and work of fans.

And the community is now mature and large enough for the producer to do one of the things he enjoys most: making connections between people.

The web made the world flat (e.g., this live feed) the *global* in @global14 is real. Then someone jumpted in the Twitter stream to state he had written a
post about it a few
years ago.


Both Global14 and his own Twitter feeds were in front of the artist throughout the live video feed.

When we talk about celebrities using social networks to connect with fans, we often cite those who have large followings. Thus making the same mistake we caution our clients not to make: that of looking at quantity rather than kind of connection.

In a candid conversation, Mr. Dupri grounded us back to the purpose of community — and that is to encourage and exemplify how to create meaningful connections.


[based upon my live tweeting from #dage20]


Valeria is an experienced listener. She is also frequent speaker at
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