Thoughts From The Cafe; Northern Results And Facebook

As summer has arrived in the northern part the globe the international mountain biking competitions have also begun. The US series has kicked off with some dominating rides by the Trek World Racing team, much to the frustration of many others I expect.

Meanwhile in Europe the DH events have been closely run with the big surprise being the appearance of so many New Zealand riders and over at the Freeride events Sam Pilgrim has clutched the brand new FMB World Tour events to his chest and does not seem to be letting go. Now judging by the amount of Facebook updates and emails in my in-box there is also action on pretty much every other mountain biking discipline as well and I'll try to cover as much as I can where and when I can.

Speaking of Facebook, I have a bone or two to pick with how companies, especially bike industry companies are coming to the party and become badly behaved guests. For instance, I clearly want to know what is going on in the world of mountain bikes, so I have decided "like" many of the companies involved in the greater community and industry, initially that sounded like a good plan, however the reality is that each morning I get bombarded with updates about stuff I could not get a flying fuck about, such as road cycling... Specialized, I'm looking at you for a start, but Trek, RaceFace and Fox Racing Shocks, you are not too far behind.

I'm a big fan of Facebook, especially having spent some years trying to bring social media platforms for mobile and personal computer to market in New Zealand a few years back. It came out of nowhere and due to having some additional thought applied to it... well the rest is history really. As a platform for connecting with family and friends, close and distant, it's brilliant, however as a communications platform for companies and brands it has a lot of traps. In fact it can have more problems than positives, as the examples I've talked about have shown.

For my example today I'm going to use Specialized, because for company who has been very clever with brand and positioning, they seem to have missed the point of Facebook altogether. The key driver of Facebook is creating an intimate community, one that cares passionately, so that should be the focus of any corporate Facebook sites right? Not so for Specialized, who have seen fit to bundle all their communications into one Facebook site and then send out about half a dozen updates over a short period of time and guess what... it sucks! As I mentioned before, I care about mountain biking and it's collective disciplines, not a jot do I care about any form of road racing, cyclo-cross and any other pointless drivel with skinny tyres etc. So now I'm the anti-Specialized and I have decided to "hide" their feeds, but now as a member of the community I'm adrift and potentially being courted by Yeti for my love of things mountain bikey.

The key is before you embark on Facebook (and also Twitter and blogs), be aware of which communities you want to reach, what you want to tell them and how you want to tell them.

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