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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.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog
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It started as whispers, but lately we’ve heard more and more about the “R” word.

Recovery of the economy.

Economists are starting to down play the recession and clearly chatter from our D.C. representatives is all about a turning point as retail sales beat forecasts and for the first time in 10 years 160K jobs were created in the month of March.  However, the unemployment rate remains steady at 9.7% nationally and it really looks like the pace of growth won’t drive rapid improvement in the labor market.

And speaking of job growth, Harley-Davidson has taken some of the oxygen out any recovery in Milwaukee.  According to the Biz Journal the motor company filed a mass layoff notice this week with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development informing the agency that it was undergoing a permanent reduction in force and will lay off 94 employees at its distribution center in Franklin beginning June 7.  Unemployment remains steady at 8.7% in Wisconsin.  This news was not unexpected as the motor company announced more than a year ago that it was closing the distribution center as part of a major reduction in operations, with a third-party company picking up parts, accessories and general merchandise distribution.

Clearly the labor market distress remains high and I’m not making light of hard working folks difficulties.   But, if it’s any consolation – plus the fact that this week Tiger returned to the Masters, launched a new 3D PGA Online Game and Nike’s greedy geniu$ made us feel CREEPY for the multimillionaire after rolling out a new ad featuring his dead father’s voice – Wisconsin is ranked among the top states for its ratio of golfers to courses and during this most distressful time, might I suggest a round of golf to reduce stress?  Better yet, maybe you could snag a 4-some in the middle of the day with Mr. Keith Wandell (H-D CEO) who according to a number of press reports is an avid golfer and discuss etiquette or share tips!

Photo courtesy of GoGo Caddy and H-D.


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“What a long, strange trip it’s been,” said the infamous Jerry Garcia.

And how true that statement is after tuning in to the “news briefing” by Tiger Woods yesterday.  The whole controlled and sterile event with a so-called heartfelt speech was bizzare.

The new American sport is apologizing.

Maybe it should be an Olympic event?!  You barely have to offend before some nitwit demands you whip out a confession admitting your crime, talk about rehab or therapy and express regret.  Huh?  Have you ever stopped to think maybe the person meant to do it.  Maybe they’re just not like you and I?

As if athletes are not jocks doing it for personal glory.  And cash!  That’s the real story (money), but we don’t want to admit it to ourselves.

And how about that Buddhist comment?  It’s the first time we’ve heard about his “lifelong” teachings.  And why is it we never hear about them when the athlete is on top, but they make up a major part of every “victim’s” apology speech when they hit bottom.

Tiger cheated on his wife and family.  Why is this even on TV?  His actions had no impact on the actual results of the golf events he participated in.  I don’t think he owes anyone an apology other than his wife, family and friends.  I could care less if his apology and confession were sincere or not.  It won’t change if and when I play golf.  So, the Great Apology, a speech about how a man had been living a lie and a dishonest life expects people to take him on his word that everything he says is true – now.

Quoting the Accenture ad… “Opportunity isn’t always obvious”…  It would seem prudent for the soon-to-be single Tiger to collaborate with Harley-Davidson.  And I mean this as no disrespect to Harley.  Go to commercial:  Cue opening to George Thorogood playing “Bad to the Bone” as the camera pans across a leggy brunette to his face as he looks back with that pouty-lipped look he does, then there is an Elvis snarl…while revving the throttle…another Elvis snarl as the bagger burns out.  Cue announcer as Tiger smiles and says “Screw It, Let’s Ride”…

Personally this whole greedy geniu$ event had me believing in him less today than I did yesterday, but it’s his life.

Photo courtesy of PRX Radio

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