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Topic: So what can we do... (Read 12953 times) previous topic - next topic

So what can we do...

...to drum up some more traffic over here?

I've been back on the forum for roughly a year now. Even in that year, I have seen activity decline. I have been making an effort to visit here every few days, and somewhat post puppies.

A lot of us, just because of our age and scene, are not very good with social media. I have an Instagram account that I'm hardly active on, primarily because I have no clue what the hell I'm doing with it. I started the account with the intention of trying to bring awareness to these cars, and this forum again. I do follow a couple people who I know are/were members of this forum, and they post much more regularly.

While Facebook certainly hurt the forums, I do try to link people back here from time to time.

I know our numbers are dwindling, but do you guys have any ideas on how to maybe reach out, and find some more members to bring in here, or to get people coming back once again? Maybe something to help make the forum more appealing?
It's Gumby's fault.

So what can we do...

Reply #1
I think Facebook has taken the population. I say advertise the forum on facebook when we make posts over there. I think the forum is still valid. And I like that we have topics, not just random stuff all over the place, and scrolling forever to find a post.
'88 Sport--T-5,MGW shifter,Trick Flow R intake,Ed Curtis cam,Trick Flow heads,Scorpion rockers,75mm Accufab t-body,3G,mini starter,Taurus fan,BBK long tube headers,O/R H-Pipe, Flowamaster Super 44's, deep and deeper Cobra R wheels, Mass Air and 24's,8.8 with 3.73's,140 mph speedo,Mach 1 chin spoiler,SN-95 springs,CHE control arms,aluminum drive shaft and a lot more..

So what can we do...

Reply #2
Wow, I didn't know this forum was still here!
 
Just kidding.

I agree that we've lost a lot of people to Facebook.  It's just so easy for people to post there and get an almost instant answer without having to do any searching.

Maybe we should stop answering their questions and just direct them here.
1986 Mercury Cougar - 2.3T/T5 swap, TC brakes and suspension and rearend, 3" exhaust, 255 lph fuel pump, Stinger BOV, Gillis MBC @ 18 psi
2003 Chevy Suburban Z71 - Daily driver
2015 Chevy Volt - Wife's daily driver

So what can we do...

Reply #3
We need both options. But still direct them here as well
'88 Sport--T-5,MGW shifter,Trick Flow R intake,Ed Curtis cam,Trick Flow heads,Scorpion rockers,75mm Accufab t-body,3G,mini starter,Taurus fan,BBK long tube headers,O/R H-Pipe, Flowamaster Super 44's, deep and deeper Cobra R wheels, Mass Air and 24's,8.8 with 3.73's,140 mph speedo,Mach 1 chin spoiler,SN-95 springs,CHE control arms,aluminum drive shaft and a lot more..

So what can we do...

Reply #4
It's not as simple as people are using Facebook now instead of forums. It's also the age and popularity of these cars. They are not particularly popular and they are now OLD. The newest versions are 30 years old. It's not just Facebook but a lack of interest in these cars in general. When this place was really busy these cars were still in the old used car range. Now they are just old, and many need restoration. Our cars are now a small niche market.
88 Thunderbird LX: 306, Edelbrock Performer heads, Comp 266HR cam, Edelbrock Performer RPM intake, bunch of other stuff.

So what can we do...

Reply #5
Quote from: thunderjet302;467080
It's not as simple as people are using Facebook now instead of forums. It's also the age and popularity of these cars. They are not particularly popular and they are now OLD. The newest versions are 30 years old. It's not just Facebook but a lack of interest in these cars in general. When this place was really busy these cars were still in the old used car range. Now they are just old, and many need restoration. Our cars are now a small niche market.

While you are correct, we still do get new members registering here, and new members in the Facebook groups at an "okay" rate. It certainly isn't what it used to be. While the general public isn't as privy to these cars as they once were, there are still a large amount of enthusiasts.

I'm on a forum for live planted aquariums, and that forum booms. It's almost as busy as this place once was. Forums themselves aren't dead for sure and these cars aren't dead. The hard part is drawing the people back in.
It's Gumby's fault.

So what can we do...

Reply #6
I don't want to say I've given up on these cars, but they and parts are drying up. When I first joined, I used to call them out on the road driving around every day. Now its pretty rare to see one in a month or two, and i do a ton of driving.

I tried to make a post a day here the last few years, but its the same basic questions over and over again.

I am fairly active on the facebook groups, but usually only when I see something blatantly wrong or misrepresented.

We do get new people from time to time, but interest quickly drops and so do they. 90% of mods are well written on coolcats, and outside of a good code pulling write up, its pretty complete with the basic needs and general fixes.

I thought about trying to do a tour rather then setup a meet. Back east it seems like there are a ton of well grouped members within a few hour drives. I thought it might be cool to just set aside a week or so and just hit the road and meet up with guys from the forums.

But like I said, interest is usually strong at first, then quickly drops off. I also kinda feel like the minority here. My turd bucket isn't polished anywhere. I drive my car daily, and I feel more of our members are in the late 40's and early 50's range. Usually have a bit more money and want to buy an old favorite or first car and take it to shows.

I think our cars are in a lull of popularity. Before they were commonly found both cheap and expensive in good shape. Now every thing left is a well worn death trap or a low mile survivor.

Once all the $500 cars dry up, all that will be left is the low mile grandma cars, or the well maintained show worthy vehicles. Once that happens, I think we will see a bit of a revival.

But, the average person, even some car guys, don't really see our cars as special or rare. They look a bit different, but most people guess my car to be a mid to late 90's car and think its super weird that it doesn't have cup holders. Very few, even kids these days believe me when I say its an 86 and going on 33 years of age.
Quote from: jcassity
I honestly dont think you could exceed the cost of a new car buy installing new *stock* parts everywhere in your coug our tbird. Its just plain impossible. You could revamp the entire drivetrain/engine/suspenstion and still come out ahead.
Hooligans! 
1988 Crown Vic wagon. 120K California car. Wifes grocery getter. (junked)
1987 Ford Thunderbird LX. 5.0. s.o., sn-95 t-5 and an f-150 clutch. Driven daily and going strong.
1986 cougar.
lilsammywasapunkrocker@yahoo.com

So what can we do...

Reply #7
I think the ones who post here are the enthusiasts. The issue is we know how to fix most of the common problems already, so we don't generate much in the way of new topics. Quite a few of the Facebook posts are from people with clapped out POS cars trying to keep them running for a few months before moving on to something else.

I think car forums in general have been hit harder by Facebook than other discussion forums. Look at the Corral. It's a shadow of what it once was. I'm on a couple of non car forums and they get pretty frequent use.
88 Thunderbird LX: 306, Edelbrock Performer heads, Comp 266HR cam, Edelbrock Performer RPM intake, bunch of other stuff.

So what can we do...

Reply #8
There is definitely a decline in post activity, some from a change in how people source their information and some from the popularity of these old cars.  We are not alone though.  Been to pirate4x4 recently?  Ghost town.  The rangerstation?  Ghost town.

However I think one could trace it back to the death of CatJam for this particular group.  Several of the active contributing members were avid CatJamers, not taking away from those who never went because many of those I believe were striving to make it to the show.  Once there was no show there was no group, People moved on and found cars that had active communities.  Every one of the cars I have played with in the past I have always enjoyed most being part of the group, the larger the better.  How many years did someone create the "where are the pictures at?" post to get a first glimpse into the show they were missing?  I believe that this forum and its members nearly revolved around that show, only every being as large as it was because of the opportunity to attend some day.  No show, no forum members.

 I personally was disappointed that there was no more show, no more face to face meetings on a large scale and no more collective goal of attending the show.  This is by no means a knock on Eric, he worked very hard on making CatJam what it was and when life changed for him we all knew something had to give.  Many have tried to step in and create a replacement but nothing has grabbed the attention of the masses like Eric was able too.

Now I don't know facebook and its groups.  I am being stubborn and holding steady with not joining despite Gumby trying his hardest.  I'm not even sure if there is a group like us there.
One 88

So what can we do...

Reply #9
The reasons for this forum (and many others) shriveling up has pretty much been covered here: Facebook and the relative rarity of the cars. A lot of people have moved on, myself included - I sold my white T-Bird back in 2010 and my "toy" now is a 2015 Mustang GT. Some day I hope to get into a nice four-eye Bird with vent windows, but that is way, wayyyyy down on the list-o-priorities. I still check on this forum daily, but since I don't have one of the cars anymore I generally don't have much to say. I've even floated the idea of signing the forum over to someone else, perhaps Eric or Baxo or Chuck, who at least still has one of these cars.

Facebook has been both a boon and a bust for car fans, but it has definitely put a big hurt on forums. It's good because it allows you to post questions that get answered quickly (and also allows you to answer questions), and it is easy as hell to post pics without worrying about attachments or third party hosts. It's also easy to use on mobile devices. It's bad because information quickly gets buried and the same questions get asked over and over. It's also pretty much unmoderated.

I think one thing that has done a lot of damage to forums of all kinds was the great Photobucket debacle. At the flick of a switch millions of photos all over the internet disappeared and were held hostage by Photobucket, who was now demanding money, and not a small amount of money, to let you share them.  Countless Tech articles, user rides, projects, junk yard find threads, etc, suddenly became useless. That drove a LOT of people away from forums and onto social media. Photobucket has since reversed that move, but it's too late. People have lost their trust of the service and won't rely on it anymore.

I think most of the "hangers on" to forums, including this one, are long time users who check in frequently because it's like visiting old friends. I haven't met any of you personally but I've known a lot of you guys for over 20 years. Some of you were teenagers when you joined, some were even too young to drive.
2015 Mustang GT Premium - 5.0, 6-speed, Guard Green - too much awesome for one car

1988 5.0 Thunderbird :birdsmily: SOLD SEPT 11 2010: TC front clip/hood ♣ Body & paint completed Oct 2007 ♣ 3.55 TC rear end and front brakes ♣ TC interior ♣ CHE rear control arms (adjustable lowers) ♣ 2001 Bullitt springs ♣ Energy suspension poly busings ♣ Kenne Brown subframe connectors ♣ CWE engine mounts ♣ Thundercat sequential turn signals ♣ Explorer overhead console (temp/compass display) ♣ 2.25" off-road dual exhaust ♣ T-5 transmission swap completed Jan 2009 ♣

So what can we do...

Reply #10
I would love to see another cat jam like meet. I just always feel left out. I'm kinda in the middle of nowhere on the forum map.
Quote from: jcassity
I honestly dont think you could exceed the cost of a new car buy installing new *stock* parts everywhere in your coug our tbird. Its just plain impossible. You could revamp the entire drivetrain/engine/suspenstion and still come out ahead.
Hooligans! 
1988 Crown Vic wagon. 120K California car. Wifes grocery getter. (junked)
1987 Ford Thunderbird LX. 5.0. s.o., sn-95 t-5 and an f-150 clutch. Driven daily and going strong.
1986 cougar.
lilsammywasapunkrocker@yahoo.com


So what can we do...

Reply #12
Quote from: EricCoolCats;467106
I keep coming back here for the cookies and puppies...

That will generate traffic.  ;)
tbirdregistry.com
26480
27373

So what can we do...

Reply #13
Quote from: rodsterh;467110
That will generate traffic.  ;)

Depends on whose cookies and puppies. ;)
Long live the 4-eyes!  - '83 Tbird Turbo

So what can we do...

Reply #14
Quote from: Chuck W;467112
Depends on whose cookies and puppies. ;)

Point taken. :mullet:


There are a lot of factors, I think, for the relative declining use of the message board. Carm said it best...Facebook is definitely the biggest obstacle. Age of the cars is another. There just aren't enough of these cars left to pique interest. And the fact that there are no catalogues from which to just call or logon and order parts...that's the killer. Otherwise I think we'd have a more robust board and interest in these cars.

I will say that I really enjoy seeing people's cars and progress pix when their photos pop up in the various Facebook groups. Nothing makes me smile more than to see a bunch of T-Birds and Cougars in my news feed. That was a dream of sorts 20+ years ago for me, and now it's reality and I can't be more ecstatic. Sorry, message board peeps, but that's reality now and I love it.

My site has also seen a decline in traffic. It doesn't stop me from writing new articles and keeping it relatively fresh, but it is a little disheartening to know that there's a very limited audience now. There's also precious little feedback as well. Hopefully someone finds that stuff useful...but I never really know for sure.

That being said...I'd love to point people over here to the board for answers. Most questions on FB are answered here several times over. But that can come off as being a little prudish on social media so I'm not sure if that's such a good idea, although for a lengthy answer it would probably be proper.

Maybe a revamp/refresh/rethink of this board is in order. Social media integration is non-existant here and that should definitely be addressed to make it more likely to be used properly. Combining threads is also a good idea, to keep the thread count down. Any solved issues and popular discussions should go in a library section that is locked, which again keeps those questions from recurring. A few sections could be eliminated. I don't know, that's just my thoughts offhand.

About the car show/Cat Jam thing...I tried my best for 8 years to have a relaxed gathering of these cars and I'm proud to know that some of you look back fondly at those years. It was an honor to have everyone in my hometown. But the truth is, I was getting pretty burned out from having the show yearly because it's an amazing amount of work. My mind and my body were starting to crack. And life itself was starting to change for me. If I tried to have the same show today it would be extremely challenging, as a lot of my local support system just isn't there anymore. When my mom passed it took a big part of my life away. She did a lot of the work for the show, without even flinching, and I could never repay her for all the help she gave. Everyone else is older now (friends, aunts, relatives) that used to help with the show. Even I am not able to do a lot of that stuff anymore. I had thought about a bi-annual show (every 2 years), which would be easier on me for sure. But again it comes down to logistics. TBH, I'd rather meet up with everyone at Carlisle, PA again. It's less time together but no less meaningful either.

I've been out of the car show thing for many years now. Both of my cars are not driven much anymore...and by 'not much' I mean less than 100 miles each per year, and that's just to local cruise-ins. I don't hate the cars; quite the opposite, as it's sometimes fun to work on small projects for them. But I'm very afraid of getting into an accident. With so much invested in each one, it's just my luck that something would happen. And it would be a typical texting teenager, I'm sure. Besides, it's pretty much an all-Chevy show around my parts and no amount of my proselytizing is going to convert anyone.

And I'm kind of tired of some things on the cars also. Tired of dealing with some issues, a lot of them for 20 years now. I'd love to throw a bunch of money at them and be done with the problems...but yeah, there's the life thing getting in the way again. I can never catch up on that stuff. So instead of me looking at the cars and saying, "Hey, let's go for a ride," it's like, "Meh, there's always next year". The biggest issue is ME, I know this, I'm trying to deal with it. Just knowing how much work there really is, that makes me not want to get involved even more. But I'm also trying not to let that spill over into this board or the site because I love them both and would never try to deter anyone from their dreams.

Sorry for the ramble. Just wanted to clarify things from my POV.