Home grown social media site offers $2,000 for best video


Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn and TalentTime. If you haven’t heard of the last one, creator of TalentTime.com, Anthony Manzo, is certain you will eventually.

TalentTime is the latest social media networking website, created in Rhode Island by local businessmen.

The brainchild of Anthony Manzo, owner of Anthony’s Jewelers and ShopInRI.com, TalentTime is targeted specifically at those who wish to share their special talents with the online community.

“I always had it in my head,” said Manzo of his idea, “There’s no place for someone who has all kinds of talents.”

The idea for TalentTime spawned from Manzo’s own talents as a musician and author. He said he realized quickly there was not a platform for him to share both his music videos and his short stories in one place.

But now, because of TalentTime, Manzo said he and others like him can share their talents with the online community.

The “talent” Manzo refers to doesn’t just mean an ability involving the arts.

“You could be great at reconditioning a car, or you might know how to trim a hedge into Mickey Mouse,” he said.

In April 2011, Manzo went on the search for someone with the technological wherewithal to make his idea for TalentTime a reality. Manzo’s background is in real estate development, so he needed someone to help him with the technology behind constructing the website.

That’s when he met Michael Hayes, who thought the idea for TalentTime exciting and jumped onboard with the project. Hayes is the founder and sole owner of Computer Tech Pros located in Warwick and has more than 15 years of industry experience.

Together the team designed and created the TalentTime website, first securing the name and domain, and then designing what Manzo calls a “state of the art” site. The project’s initial cost was roughly $100,000.

After months of design and tweaks, Manzo and Hayes launched the site in August. Now users are signing up to make their profile pages and share their content.

“On one Saturday there were over 100 communications in a half hour,” said Manzo.

“Imagine Faceboook and YouTube merged into one, and somewhat of a Craigslist,” said Jeffrey Desreuisseau, marketing director for TalentTime,” It’s the best of each. We merged them into TalentTime.”

Joining TalentTime is completely free of charge, just like any other social media site, and users can create a profile page and share pictures, files, videos, messages and events with their online friends.

Desreuisseau said that users may also use the site to post ads for musicians, entertainers or employees, much like they can on Craigslist.

Though TalentTime has many components similar to Facebook, the biggest difference between the two is how TalentTime users receive news updates.

Desreuisseau said with Facebook, you need to log onto the website to be able to see updates and news. With TalentTime, if something is directed towards you, you’ll receive it in your email.

“[On Facebook] you’re going through waves of pages,” he said, “[On TalentTime] you’re contacted via email. If it’s for you, it gets to you.”

Desreuisseau said that Facebook is full of “information pollution” from an overabundance of posts. TalentTime is more streamlined.

“My friends can send me a direct email, I don’t have to go through and stumble across something that someone else has posted,” he said.

Desreuisseau said that TalentTime is a great platform for fellow artists to meet one another, and for those looking for performers to find what they need.

“It’s a great forum for dancers to meet other dancers, or jugglers to meet other jugglers,” he said, “It will be an excellent forum for talent agents. Someone could be looking for dancers for a Broadway show, or a juggler for a birthday party, or the next X-Factor star. The possibilities are endless.”

TalentTime is currently hosting a video contest to encourage users to sign up and share their abilities. All videos uploaded to the site before midnight on December 31 will be considered. Members from the TalentTime team will judge the videos, and the best video will win a $2,000 grand prize.

“We believe everyone’s got a talent that they may want to share. People gave some things that they consider talent that maybe we don’t,” laughed Desreuisseau, who explained that people can upload a video of whatever they consider to be their best talent.

“It can be someone who burps the National Anthem. We hope it’s not that but it could be!” he said.

Desreuisseau said that TalentTime is closely monitored for vulgar or inappropriate content.

He described the site as being for “main-stream America.”

“There’s nothing vulgar on there,” he said.

Members of TalentTime are encouraged to showcase their own talents, or talents of their family members and friends. In order to join, the user must provide an email address and password. From there, they can set up their page to their liking.

“We hope TalentTime will put Rhode Island on the social media map. We think it will be the next Facebook or YouTube sensation,” said Desreuisseau, who hopes that once people try TalentTime, it will become their preferred social media site.

“People find something and they like it, they stick to it.”

Just like MySpace gave way to Facebook, Desreuisseau and the TalentTime team believe something bigger and better will come along soon.

“The next generation will be something else,” he said, “We believe that’s TalentTime.”

To sign up for TalentTime and enter the $2,000 video contest, visit www.TalentTime.com.


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