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Archive for July 22nd, 2010

Harley-Davidson Facebook "Wall"

“Messy” Jesse wants to reunite with Sandra.  Mel “The Raging Ranter” Gibson is on the phone, again [THREE EXPLETIVES DELETED BY THE EDITOR DUE TO BEING VULGAR!!].  Bristol and Levi are back together.  The American Idol summer tour starts soon and The Bachelorette is close to selecting her dream man!  As if there is such a thing because Maricar “The Whip-Cracking” Dominatrix has been passed around more than a lumberjack camp salt shaker!

I’m thinking that free speech isn’t free because I have to REALLY work my brain to tune out all of this so-called “news”…

And speaking of short attention spans.  Yesterday, Facebook hit a new milestone; it reached 500 MILLION monthly active users (i.e. within the last month, 500M unique users have logged in).  That’s not the same metric as the number of registered users/accounts on a system i.e. Twitter’s 100M registered users, it’s 500M monthly active users.  That’s huge.  Also from the stats zone approximately 70% of Facebook users are from outside of the U.S., they average 130 friends, are connected with 80 pages (groups and events), post 90 pieces of content each month and spend over 700 BILLION minutes per month on the site.

Harley-Davidson Facebook "Info Page"

In a world of readily-available stimulation, where you can flip the remote or click a different link if you don’t like what you’re experiencing now, it’s really darn difficult to keep the attention of the public with mediocre product.  Motorcycle companies address this problem by adding bells and whistles, by doing their best to dazzle web surfers.  But this is akin to a wreck on the highway, you slow down to check it out, then you forget it.

So what about Harley-Davidson’s social media activity?  Is it an original that sparks rider inspiration or do you think it’s just another rendition of syndicating corporate messages?  I became interested in that question which brought to mind whether social media and specifically the Harley-Davidson Facebook page makes riders dumber?  Or smarter?  The H-D Facebook page has more than 956,000 fans.  I don’t think it’s a big stretch to suggest that some of the interaction with/or the overzealous status updates reflect more on folks who are in self-destruct mode, either by being excessively confessional or who foolishly post the bizarre and want to be in the limelight for 5-minutes of fame as dumbing-down riders.

Harley-Davidson Facebook "Events Page"

Don’t get me wrong, I like Facebook, I’ve reconnected with old friends and can easily keep in touch with current ones.  But motorcycle companies are fighting for your attention.  And people get angry if you jump in front of them with classic “stiff” marketing and demand it.  It’s like begin cut off on the highway.  You want to beep the horn or project the middle finger, you’re anything but open to being nice to the driver.  The internet democratizes access to information.  Suddenly the largest cost driven American motorcycle manufacture looks no better than a smaller independent motorcycle manufacture or the one-man customizer.

Yes, if someone’s truly interested, if they’re hooked, they’ll give you untold hours of attention.  But you’ve got to be good.  People don’t dedicate time to train wrecks, they invest in quality.  But that’s harder to come by.  Which is why some companies seem to blame the audience rather than look internally at their mediocre offering.

Photos courtesy of H-D and Facebook.

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