Patch Launches A More Social, More Mobile Site

In recent months, there’s been much talk of the booming New York tech scene. The city has the fastest growing tech sector in the nation, helped along by Mayor Bloomberg’s pitch to entrepreneurs and his Made in NY Digital Map. In Q2 of 2012, Internet accounted for 82 percent of VC investment, and total VC funding continues to rise.

One of NYC’s tech properties, Patch, is unveiling a new site today. I got a preview of the new site at Patch’s Chelsea offices, which puts heavy emphasis on social and mobile.

“The new platform is much more about the brand pillars,” said chief content officer Rachel Feddersen, namely content, collaboration and commerce. It combines a content platform with a social platform because “we deeply believe people want both from one place,” said creative director Abel Lenz.

Patch has been subject to much criticism in the journalism sphere for its business model and lack of traditional journalism. The new site seems to move even further from traditional journalism with content organized into “groups” and displayed on a news feed. Community members can create their own groups to post articles, messages, photos, videos and events. But those over at Patch insist that the social elements do not compromise the journalistic content. Here’s a screenshot of the new homepage:

“This is the marriage of Journalism with a big J and social elements of a community platform,” said CEO and co-founder Jon Brod. They assured me that the role of a local editor would not change with the new site, and that LE’s would not be responsible for moderating content that users create.

Recent evidence says that Patch is certainly doing better from a traffic, ad and revenue perspective. Brod said that the new site wouldn’t affect their business model, though they do have some new initiatives on the commerce front brewing.