Never stop discovering – the power of being social

Getting social with an organised bike ride

Getting social with an organised bike ride

I’m not one for blogging about being social because I think it’s just human instinct that’s inherent within you or that you develop over time. However I was struck at just how much you do discover when you bring social into the mix.

The bike

When I’m not at home enjoying time with my kids or at work I ride bicycles. I often ride to work commuting with all my work gear (laptop, clothing, books, etc) and at the weekend too. At the weekend I’m either racing or riding socially (or training to win races). Anyway enough about my riding, the point is whether on or off the bike I like spending time speaking with different folk. And it’s amazing what you can learn as I found out on my bike on Sunday.

The guy

This weekend I was lucky enough to meet a guy (David Green) who was over to the UK on a short break. While cruising a gentle gradient on bikes I asked David what he got up to when not turning pedals? He went on to tell me he was an internet entrepreneur. “Wow!” I said, “… what sort of stuff are you involved in?” I curiously probed.

The deal

Fifteen minutes later (and nearly involving a crash) he went on to tell me how in 2007 he was involved in a VoIP business that went bust and that he was now bringing content to cyclists in a ‘new – for the audience – digital format – an e-magazine publication. He procures local journalists (aka local riders and racers) to generate the content, either through writing, taking photos, tweeting or filming which he then collates and includes in a bi-weekly digital magazine, Florida Racing Magazine. It’s a really simple idea and very little risk and no (very little) associated production costs. Furthermore, the local contributors are more than happy to contribute (cyclists are vain) their content to the magazine to then see it distributed to a wider audience. For consumers there are not costs for them, they simply provide an email address and the magazine finds its way to their inbox. Better still, you could access the e-magazine directly from the website.

Florida Racing magazine e-zine

Florida Racing magazine e-zine

The pros and cons

Like all ideas there’s more than one side to it. It’s a neat idea for a couple of reasons:

For the distributor:

Viral – readers can share it with their friends
Sponsors love it – they are literally quing up to advertise
Give back to the community – through free (or subsidised) inclusions
Low risk – no risky financial commitments
Socially healthy – inherently social with community involvement
Exciting area to operate in

For the reader:

Niche and relevant content – content the cyclists want relating to their beloved sport
Current – as it happens content (albeit maximum two weeks old at any given time)
Visually lead – cyclists love pictures period
Self-promoting (and for their sponsors too) – they all love a bit of exposure
Viral – I can share it with my friends (mandatory Social Media ingredient)

The real weakness I can identify is the medium it’s distributed in… and that’s all. In a world where ‘content is king’ the only other issue is the level of appropriateness for its audience. Cyclists are tactile and like physical magazines. A field study of the said readers would surely reveal mountains of old magazines stacked to the ceiling in the bathrooms of cyclists’ across the country (I can confirm this).

So what did a discover?

Never underestimate the discovery power of being social no matter the context is. Keeping searching, probing, looking, asking… you’re sure to discover something that has meaning.

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