Black Blogger Month, Social Wayne, Digital Revolutionary

Technology and social media marketing has skyrocketed Wayne Sutton above the social stratosphere

Wayne Sutton of Social Wayne

Chef Calvin Harris of Harris Food Group partnered with NBC to cook up 'The Biggest Loser' Simply Sensible meals (Image: Press)

Watch NBC’s popular weight-loss series The Biggest Loser and you might get wrapped up on the contestants’ intense workout regimen or well-balanced meal plans. But do you ever wonder how you can infuse those same healthy eating options into your own diet? It’s a concept Chef Calvin Harris is proud he helped bring to fruition. Harris Food Group, founded in 2006, alongside NBC Universal Television Consumer Products Group and Reveille LLC crafted a line of fully-prepared, refrigerated healthy meals, which debuted in conjunction with the Biggest Loser's eleventh season, earlier this year. Simply Sensible, endorsed by the American Heart Association, comes in five entrée variations including beef tips and gravy, beef pot roast with mashed potatoes, lasagna, zing chicken and Mediterranean-style chicken, and it’s priced at $6.99 each. The classically trained French chef left the gourmet cuisine business for research and restaurant and product development. With more than 25 years in the business, Chef Harris—formerly Senior Director of Product Innovation at Burger King—has held positions at Carlson Restaurants Worldwide TGI Friday’s Division and Triarc Restaurant Group. He’s been recognized for his contributions to the food industry, winning the 2001 Menu Master’s Award (at Carlson Restaurants Worldwide) and named as Nation’s Restaurant News' Top 50 Research and Development Culinarians, even being nominated for the Top Menu Strategist award given by Restaurant Business. caught up with the Texas native as he shares how he got into the food business, setting out on his own and why Simply Sensible is in a league of its own. Videographer: Melissa Johnson

Wayne Sutton takes tech to the streets

Wayne Sutton is social media. He personifies it so much so that his blog, which covers mobile marketing, app development, location-based services, social media, gadgets and technology, is aptly named SocialWayne. He’s been blogging since the 90s (way before WordPress was invented), has over 33,500 followers on Twitter, and even figured out a way to get people to follow him in real life using location-based services like and his own iPhone app, which both provide a Quick Response code reader and offers real-time group chat. In fact, Sutton, 36, a former network administrator, cofounded TriOutNC by leveraging the idea that QR code check-in contests could help brick and mortar businesses in North Carolina’s Research Triangle region take advantage of social media’s ability to amass traffic on the Internet and in real life.

More recently, he became one of six Black cofounders of, a startup launched in 48 hours at the South by Southwest annual conference in Austin, TX. gives anyone an opportunity to build a digital press kit, brand their identity, and provide a virtual landing page for resumes, portfolios, and all of their social activities. As the director of business development, Sutton does for what he has been doing for TriOut and many other individuals, startups, and small businesses; he helps them understand how to communicate on the social web via brand strategy and marketing.

Based on his expertise, Sutton will be a speaker on the “Go Digital or Die Trying” session at the 2011 Black Enterprise Entrepreneur’s Conference on May 22-25. But for now get a preview of his breadth of knowledge as part of Black Blogger Month.

I started blogging because…

I wanted to share my voice, thoughts, opinions, and information with others online. Years ago, before Twitter, before social networks, it was hard to find useful tech information. Blogging became that medium I used to help educate others. I blogged about gadgets, web design, and Mac changes. It was more about technology and less about social media.

What influences me now…

Is the fact that I know I have an audience and a readership and they have certain expectations of me. Knowing that, I try to provide the content that they’re looking for, things that are helpful to others, while at the same time being true to who I am and writing about things I’m still interested in.

People trust my brand because…

Social Wayne logo

How Sutton gets socialized

Of the relationships that I’ve built with them online. I try to meet as many people I can at conferences like SXSW and other events or just have a dialogue with them on Twitter or Facebook. It builds up integrity around your blog so when you do write something, people will trust or respect what you have to say because of the relationships that you built. Also, they trust me because I don’t post information that is incorrect just for SEO. That is not to say that I never have or never will use SEO. You need search traffic, but you should try to put up good content and people will trust you as a resource and come back to that.

The biggest mistake I ever made in business was…

Not being consistent writing on one blog. Social Wayne started in 2007, but that wasn’t my first blog. I had a blog in the late 1990s and early 2000s, but I let them die and started something else. I had a Blogspot, I had a, I had a Squarespace blog. Even two years ago, I had a Website then I had another blog where I was writing about something else. I had different blogs all over the place and I never stuck to one URL or one blog over the years…

What I learned from that was…

Be consistent on one platform, have that one URL, one primary domain name, and one primary blog. If people say, what do you write about or where can I find more information about you [then you have one place for them to go]… Now I have just one blog where I can focus my energy. That has been valuable to me for search traffic. I may write some personal stuff every now and then but my blog has a mission statement or a content statement stating that the SocialWayne blog covers mobile marketing, application development, location based services, social media, gadgets and technology. I stick to that now and I’m not all over the place.

I realized blogging was a business…

In the early 2000s. Being a geek and a former network administrator who builds Websites and does Website design I’ve always looked at the internet as a business. I knew you could make money blogging despite people saying it would never be anything more than people in their pajamas blogging. Mainstream media discredited blogging. Blogger’s couldn’t get press passes. They didn’t want to quote a blogger. People looked down on you if you were a blogger. I always felt it could be something.

Uncle Sam got involved in my blog after…

In 2004 and 2005 I had my gadget blog and I was getting traffic and I had my Google Adwords kickback so I knew I could make money off of it. I probably made a few thousand dollars a year back then. It wasn’t a whole lot, but I thought I was doing something. As a blogger revenue comes indirectly. Because I can get consultant jobs from blogging. I get speaking jobs from blogging. And then I get stuff that can be considered income, perks, trips, and products… Uncle Sam got involved because I had to report that to the IRS. If you get money you have to report it.

I would feel obsolete if I…

Skipped writing more than three to four days on my blog.

Every small business owner in the 21st century should…

Have an online presence that is optimized for mobile devices but includes a place that tells the story of the company.

Be sure to check out the rest of the digital thought leaders as they’re revealed each day by logging on to


8 Responses to Black Blogger Month, Social Wayne, Digital Revolutionary

  1. Talisha Hill says:

    Wayne is not only an amazing technologist, but a great businessman as well. What he and Angela Benton built in 2011 with the NewME Accelerator was unprecedented. It created a Worldwide movement among underrepresented minorities around the world that will only get stronger with time. I’m staying tuned to Mr. Sutton to do bigger and better things in 2012 via his trusted Social Wayne presence and NewME brand. Great job Wayne!

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