Over the last few years I have watch the online automotive community slowly change. Recently I have noticed more and more people moving from forums to social media sites like Facebook and Instagram. While at first I was ok with this, it got rid of a lot of the lazy ass newbs and wannabe cheap ass flush kids. Which for me was a nice change, from having to tell people to use the search function. It was also nice to be able to log on and not have to see five different post about what’s the widest wheel and tire combo I can fit on my car or what power mod should I do first, intake or exhaust. To which I would almost always respond with get some good tires, brakes, and suspension first; then let’s talk about power, but I digress. Anyways, back to the topic at hand.
Like I said, at first I was ok with this. I was one of those that made that the jump to Facebook. Hell, I mean who wouldn’t want to have the ability to make a group public or private so you don’t have as many trolls. And let’s face it; social media makes it easier to sell something on. You don’t have to know any HTML or tricks to post videos or photos, which I know for a lot of people was way difficult (wink wink).
But as time went on I started to find some things were not as easy. I mean, yeah, social media was great for getting a pic of someone in case they ripped you off on a sale. It made it easier to know what a troll really looked like in real life; they aren’t all fat jackasses that sit behind a keyboard all day, well, for the most part. But what I did notice was that while there may be a search on Facebook and Instagram, it’s way too broad. You can’t narrow it to one topic; gone are the days where you could search by engine and chassis codes. And let’s not forget regional for sale threads. Yeah, we still have them to some extent on Facebook, but there are so many sub groups, each with their own for sale section. I have a hard time remembering where I have or haven’t posted an item for sale.
The one thing I found myself missing the most were the super long threads. You remember those: they were the threads that were 30+ pages long about one topic. Now while some of these were completely useless crap, some were build threads, chronicling one person’s journey with their car, which I sorely miss reading. These threads were also DIY’s, reviews/opinions, and meet threads. While some people will say, “good, who the hell wants to read through 30+ pages of crap to find some information.” Well, what you are failing to see is that information could have saved you money and a headache from buying some cheap parts or trying and failing to install something, or even worse, messing your car up altogether. Instead what we now have is automotive enthusiasts looking for that instant gratification and going out and buying a set of Racelands or some other cheap ass part because it was the first thing someone on Facebook told them or recommended to them.
The other and even more troubling thing is the effect I have seen on the local car groups meet threads. Meets were where you went to meet new people and talk about cars on monthly or even weekly bases. Now I have seen these go from 20 to 30+ people a night, to a pitiful 5 or 6 people on a given night, because people don’t know they are going on or where it is. And even if someone made a post about it on Facebook or took a quick pic when they got to the meet and put it on Instagram, there is no guarantee that everyone will see it in their feed in time to go, or even see the post at all.
With this recent migration, I have watched sites like Hondatech, NASIOC, Club4ag and many others recently turn into a wasteland with little to no activity on them. These sites that were once the lifeblood for many of us in the car world are now going very quiet, or disappearing all together. With the recent death of most print magazines over the last few years, forums look to be next on the block. I hope for next generation of car enthusiast that this is not true.