An Interview with Adrienne Williams, founder of Bi Social Network
Photo: Adrienne Williams
In June, I had the chance to interview Adrienne Williams, founder of the I Am Visible campaign whose mission is “to showcase the true lives of bisexuals and bring to light biphobia and bi-erasure.” She is also founder of the Bi Social Network, showcasing “entertainment, news, and opinion” relevant to the bisexual community. We talked about Bi Social Network’s new magazine, Bi Social Magazine. The first edition of this magazine focuses on bisexual men but is intended for all of the bi/pan/fluid community and their allies.
Q: What initially gave Bi Social Network the idea to create Bi Social Magazine?
We wanted to move away from the Web site and create an interesting product that people could have in their hands or in this case, mobility on the go. Our first goal was to have a printed magazine, but with today’s markets and our funding efforts, it didn’t bear fruit for that idea. So our next goal was to do a digital magazine. To be clear, it’s where technology is going. I asked a few people with iPads, Androids, phones etc, what they liked the most. And most stated they liked digital magazines to take everywhere with them. So it wasn’t hard to move in that direction after the fundraising didn’t pan out.
Q: What are some key features of Bi Social Magazine?
As with any magazine, we wanted to educate the public with fun facts (Bi Notes) and little tidbits that would be fun and interesting. Have a professional clinical perspective (such as in Bi Life) weigh in on Q&A from readers. As a new publication, everything is up in the air on being set in stone. I knew we wanted to have an interesting interview on pop culture—as we are an entertainment Web site foremost. We got to interview Paul Fitzgerald from ”Treme” on ”HBO” and [comedian] Kathy Griffin—so we lucked out there. We also wanted to focus on creating content that isn’t really talked about, such as bisexuals who identify as transgender male. [Author] Aud Traher did a brilliant job helping us understand issues and myths.
Q: How did you go about creating it? For instance, how did you find authors, or individuals to interview?
Bi Social Network had contributing writers and columnists for three and a half years, so that wasn’t hard to get. They were excited and wanted to contribute to the process. Adam Border is a great writer and editor, so I asked him at the start to help shape the magazine into something readable and exciting. Having an on-staff contributor such as Ronete Cohen is always a plus to have dynamic content. We started there, and then I knew some contributing writers who wanted to talk about the bi community too. So I got the idea to have a series of people: gay, straight, lesbian, transgender, asexual, no labels, to weigh in on their experiences of knowing bisexuals from their point-of-view. This issue includes Gay Voices. I want to move more into that in some way.
-What was the biggest hurdle towards completing production?
My mother died the month it was supposed to launch in January 2012. Took me by complete surprise how that would affect my work process. I also lost my job,which was helping pay the bills, due to cutbacks. Everything was on hold. Bi Social Network as a start-up was still new—meaning, I was doing it all myself financially and everything that could go wrong did. Clearly, I was having some major changes in my life . I’m writing a book on it as we speak. So that took a lot of energy out of me for a few months. I knew I needed to rest, regroup, but the magazine was going to be completed if it was the last thing I did. It was a lot of work, I won’t lie. I have a degree in design, but I haven’t really used it in years, besides web design, so it was an interesting process, getting the needed software, learning the software from scratch and bring back my mojo in communication design (she laughs).
Q: Now that the first issue of the magazine has been created, what ideas do you have should it become successful?
You mean besides heading to Rio to visit my long, lost friend of 20 years? Finish my book and get ready for Bi Social Issue 2? (laughs). No seriously, I have a friend who owns a gay B&B who wants me to rest. I decided if I could go, I was going to do a work and play for a month and create the travel issue. Rio would clearly be the focus, but I want to do other adventures bisexuals should do. I lived in Japan, so I was going to talk about that along with Europe, and other travel tidbits I can pull out of my head. Let’s see, pay the writers. Get some cool photographers. Try to get another celebrity is always a goal. We want to do many themes. Women’s edition, alternative/kink issue, travel and a few surprises. I want this magazine, if we can get the numbers, to be topics that are never talked about and much needed. We wanted to have four to six issues a year to start. We have been receiving some great feedback from readers who have been longing for bisexual content that rings true for them. I think we started something, and I hope it continues.
Q: Anything else you’d like to add?
Well, Amazon is interested in our magazine. Sadly, they are working on a platform that is in beta form, so in the meantime they wanted us to create an app for the magazine—which would be huge regarding their database of customers. But again, I’m not a developer 100%. All my geeky, tech friends are screaming, “Adrienne, learn how to make an app!” I’m working on it now—but no promises. I would just like to add, we need 2000+ people to buy the magazine in a reasonable window. Two months. That’s the goal. Fingers crossed.
The first edition of Bi Social Magazine is available at http://bisocialnetwork.bigcartel.com/
Bi Social Network-Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/bisocialnetwork
Web site: http://bisocialnetwork.com/
Francis Foy is a VCU student aspiring to become a fantasy author and full-time activist for bi/trans visibility and feminism.
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