Lee pointed me to the BlackTie-Pittsburgh website, a clearinghouse of information about local benefit events for non-profits. As a would-be donor, you can check the calendar and -- most important -- you can buy tickets. As a non-profit, the site offers what looks like an electronic soup-to-nuts solution for communicating with your constituency.

My initial reaction was -- there we go again. Benefit galas in Pittsburgh are often equal parts fundraising and hobnobbing among the region's social elite. A website about benefits that calls itself "BlackTie" reinforces the implicit narrative that services in the nonprofit sector are financed with the social capital of the well-to-do, who trade their discretionary income for photos in the paper.

But my initial reaction was wrong. The name of the company is cover for something a bit more subversive. BlackTie is online social networking for the Social Register.

BlackTie is, in fact, a successful e-commerce company, based in Denver, with local operations in Pittsburgh, Cleveland, St. Louis, Arizona, and Kansas City. It offers event planning services as well as ticketing and financial management services. The calendars looks pretty comprehensive, and the site posts photos of each event. It's not just one-stop online shopping; it's a highly-sophisticated for the over-40 crowd. BlackTie can't replace F2F, but MySpace can't do that, either. What both of them do, however, is cut out some of the traditional social middlemen. Teenagers don't need to go to the Mall to hang out with their friends. BlackTie means that the upper crust can hang out online for fun, too. If this really takes off in Pittsburgh, it promises to take a big piece of the social calendar pie -- and thus a big chunk of advertising -- away from the Post-Gazette.


0 Responses to "Blacktie-Pittsburgh"

Search Pittsblog

About Pittsblog

Pittsblog 2.0 is written by Mike Madison, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Send email to michael.j.madison[at] Mike also blogs at, on law and technology. Chris Briem of Null Space drops by from time to time.

All opinions expressed at Pittsblog 2.0 are those of their respective authors and of no one (and no thing) else, least of all the University of Pittsburgh.

Pittsblog 2.0 has a motto: "It's steel good in Pittsburgh." Say it aloud, with a Pittsburgh accent.

Comments are moderated.
Subscribe to Pittsblog comments


Blog Archive

Header Background

Header background images licensed from (left image) lemonad and (right image) plaskota under Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - Share Alike 2.0 Generic licenses.


Copyright 2003-2010 Michael J. Madison - WP Theme by Brian Gardner - Blogger Blog Templates,