This is a follow-up to my previous post about MBI. Since that time Mike Werner and I have exchanged correspondence. I haven't had a total turn-around in outlook but I do have an increased appreciation for his goals. We've worked out our differences over the e-mails and things. In an effort to be fair I felt like I should do this additional post.
By the way, Happy Good Friday and Easter! I have the day off and there's a little sunshine. Saturday and Sunday afternoons will see me riding an hour South and teaching an eager new group of riders.
As you are out and about this weekend, be on the watch for small animals! ( especially Rabbits encumbered with big baskets! )
Back to MBI. Mike and I talked about the tone of the e-mails. I can understand the frustration that came through. He's wondering why so many bloggers sign up and then don't participate. Especially in the voting process. I have to admit I was one of those many bloggers. I still sort of resent the tone but can understand where Mike was coming from. In my first e-mail to Mike I stated that maybe I wasn't the kind of blogger he was looking for in MBI. I tend to be more of a solitary creature. Probably one of the reasons I'm hooked on long distance type riding. To his credit, Mike replied quickly. His replies were very professional. He didn't ask me to stay, nor did he ask me to leave. Mike simply explained a little more of what he envisioned for MBI and how the members could help.
I decided that removing myself from the member list felt too much like slinking away. I'd challenged Mike and he responded like a gentleman. Fair enough. I resolved to attempt to make a positive impact on the situation. Don't misunderstand. I still think some things could be improved to make MBI more effective. I'm going to try to exert an influence to make that happen. By the way, I did end up voting on the last awards. Several bloggers in my circle have posted the results. There's probably very few who read here who don't also get to the other blogs. So readers will have seen how it came out. I'd rather use the space to put this message out.
MBI was started with the express intention of putting out yearly awards in the motorcycle industry. The reasoning behind recruiting motorcycle bloggers is that we are all riders. Our readers are all riders. Collectively we represent a substantial source of possible revenue to manufacturers. It would behoove manufacturers to pay attention. The awards are a summation of what the members and readers consider to be good and bad in the industry. Press releases are prepared to get as wide an exposure as possible. You might say it's making an announcement in a voice loud enough for the manufacturers to clearly hear.
I totally agree with the concept. I'll tell you about something I think could be changed, though, a little later.
One of the things that some of us may not have been clear on is that blogger members are expected to participate in a number of ways. Members are expected to participate in the voting, make postings on their blogs to encourage readers to vote, etc. I looked at the site again and there is a page that clearly spells this out. You can see it if you click here. Was it there when I joined? Probably. Did we sort of glaze over this page, signing up because we just wanted to join a group of bloggers? Honestly, I probably did. I was thinking about exposure for my blog at the time. That may have been an influence.
MBI has a forum section. I'm not a fan of forums for the most part. Interestingly, Mike told me he wasn't either. The only section of the forum I really saw at first was for introducing new members. After digging around I found some good information relating to blogging itself. Steve Williams of Scooter in the Sticks fame, for example, shared some additional sources of tracking visitors to our sites. I found some use for myself here.
Bloggers are welcome to start new threads. I'm sure a bunch of fellow bloggers would be a good source for new bloggers, for example. So far the forum hasn't gone the way of so many others and degenerated into a social avenue for a few vocal loudmouths. I hope we can keep it that way.
Here's where I would challenge and encourage fellow bloggers to make an impact. Sorry, Mike, but some of the award categories seem a little strange to me. I'd be more inclined to adjust some of them to be more relevant to riders. That's where you all come in. It happens that the choice of award categories was up for discussion on a forum link before the voting started. Some of you I've corresponded with have expressed feelings similar to mine. Let's take positive action by being more active ( ok, in my case just active ) next year. If we think the categories should change, then let that be known on the forum. The awards have the potential to pressure manufacturers. Why not use it to let them know what we, as riders, need?
Here's an example I just came across on Road Captain's blog. Mrs. Road Captain, aka Diana, was expressing her concern at the lack of stylish gear for women. You can see the post if you click here. Women riders often have to make do with gear and bikes. Some manufacturers are quite responsive to this situation and some aren't. We could use the awards to let the manufacturers know who we appreciate or not. Ultimately, the positive awards translate to riders spending money. With enough MBI members and readers participating, it should speak loud and clear. If we have a way to be heard, why not make use of it?
Well, this post has gotten long enough and there's sunshine and riding with Katie calling me. I want to sign off by urging bloggers to sign up on MBI if they haven't already. Participation really isn't that rigorous. If you're already a member, take some time to browse the forums. Welcome new members. Think about what you'd like to see for award categories next year. Who know's what will happen down the road with MBI? If we do eventually end up parting company, at least I'll know that I actually made an effort to make a positive contribution. I could use a little company in this effort. Are you game?
Miles and smiles,