Behind The Click: Wayne Sutton
by De’Juan Galloway
Wayne Sutton is a self-proclaimed geek, who has been immersed in digital media even before its exponential growth. In fact, he was the 847th user of the micro-blogging platform Twitter, which now boasts millions of users. He has over 30,000 followers, a social media blog and a valued opinion. His transition from gadget blogger to social media blogger proved to be the right move for Sutton as his website SocialWayne.com is now a popular social media destination. His firm grasp on social media and emerging technologies are not only beneficial to him online but also conducive to his business-building activities offline.
He consults for start-ups and speaks at the nation’s top tech events. According to Pulse2.com, he is one of 100 Social Media Experts to follow on Twitter. In this interview, the ubiquitous Mr. Sutton shared his prospective on digital diversity and the urgency for African-Americans to use the space for business and brand building.
Favorite website: Techmeme.com
Favorite read: Bible
Recent read: ReWork
2010’s ultimate goal: Provide valuable services and have current startup projects be successful.
Quote Governing Wayne’s Mission: “Make it happen!”
What attracted you to the digital world?
I am a geek! In high school, I was an artist who liked to draw. I was one of the people that figured out how to draw on a computer. I went to The School of Communication Arts in Raleigh, North Carolina and then became a computer graphic designer. My life story in one sentence is; I was a graphic designer, network administrator, internet marketer turned social media leader.
What prompted the creation of SocialWayne.com?
I have been blogging since blogging’s beginning. I had blogs on Blogspot, Typepad and WordPress, when they first began. I started with Wayne-Sutton.com, which was a tech blog where I focused on gadgets. Afterward, I began my test blog that emerged around the time Gizmoto, InGadget launched. I used to call myself the ‘Unofficial Web 2.0 Beta Tester’–every time a new site came out, I would get an account.
I got a job at a television station doing social media and community management work for them. However, I saw the direction social media was going and I wanted something simpler and more focused. In 2007, I transitioned the tech blog into a blog about social media and that’s when I launched SocialWayne.com.
What is the purpose of SocialWayne.com?
It is a place where I can use my voice to discuss what is happening in the industry and talk about various tools. I like that online and offline, people say, ‘I enjoy your blog.’ If there is one person who tells me that, then I am happy.
How would you characterize the growth of SocialWayne?
The growth of SocialWayne has been more about what SocialWayne has allowed me to do versus its traffic. It’s nowhere near the traffic numbers I would like. However, when I combine my Twitter followers, presence on Friend Feed and other sites, my blog can reach thousands. Without those channels, I couldn’t have had all the opportunities it has created for me.
What makes SocialWayne outstanding compared to other blogs on the digital conversation?
If people see me online and they like my web presence and know I have been doing it for awhile, they begin to value my opinion. When visitors ask questions, I try to answer those questions by blogging about it–I am very humbled that they value my opinion.
If you take a my experience and distinctiveness, then there is value in for someone looking for information on various web tools, on platforms such as Google Buzz, iPad, online marketing and online etiquette.
Each day this past February you profiled minority figures impacting the social web. How was #28daysofdiversity born and what is the purpose of spotlighting these individuals?
It started by being an African-American in the tech space and noticing the increased presence of African-Americans in the technology scene in the last six to eight years. I remember in the late nineties, Microsoft TechNet would have regional conferences and I would be the only African-American there. I still go to web conferences and there may be only 2% African Americans there.
I don’t blame it on anyone. I look at it like it is a two part thing. First, conference organizers have to reach out and make sure people of diversity know about your events. Secondly, minorities [need to] better educate themselves. You have to go and get it – no one is going to give you anything.
Why is it important for African Americans to immerse themselves in new digital media?
We should immerse ourselves because it is the future. It is a part of learning and preparing for what is next. People don’t talk about the digital divide enough. It’s important that we participate in the digital space because everything is going online, everything.