Kurt Swauger, dad of young entrepreneurs Joshua (nine) and Zachary (12), was amazed when a recent news article about their project JackieFame.net made it onto the front page of the Charlotte Observer. “The story was right below some news about Libya,” Swauger tells FishbowlLA via telephone. “I thought, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me!’” The article was also syndicated in regional newspapers across the country.
Swauger, who divides his time between North Carolina and an office in Burbank, says membership to the brothers’ “safe” Facebook alternative has grown to 920 members since January launch and last week, a computer sciences teacher at Thomas Jefferson Middle School in Madera, CA indicated he was considering signing up an entire class of students. Every piece of content on the Jackie Fame network – photos, videos, blogs, etc. – is monitored and approved by adults, while kids must be at least 13 years of age to sign up (there are no fees).
Dad understands the dangers of Facebook first-hand. He has helped develop, for a company called Neon SMART Workforce Technologies, a tool that allows employers to instantly pull up all social media materials posted by a potential hire. He says people still seem to have no idea how damaging all that stuff can be to their job pursuits.
The Swaugers, who relocated from LA to North Carolina a few years ago, have ambitious plans for the Jackie Fame brand: sunscreen, lip gloss, and more. Alongside the under-13 focused Togetherville.com (recently purchased by Disney) and a few others, they hope to make JackieFame.net live up to the name. They’re definitely off to a good start.