A Failure To Communicate

Blogs, flogs, MySpace friends, podcasts ... Robin wades into techno-territory.

Veteran character actor Strother Martin may have reached the apex of his career when he uttered the immortal line: "What we have here is a failure to communicate" as the exasperated prison warden in Cool Hand Luke. The utter agony brought on by Paul Newman’s character bucking the system that leaves Martin spluttering is well worth watching the classic flick.

However, it appears MPN may have its own failure to communicate. The poison pen letter that leads off this month’s "Feedback" page got me to thinking about the value of print publications and the ever-accelerating pace of the Information Super Highway. In fact, new columnist Otis Hackett asked me about real world benefits to blogging two years ago, at which time I expressed my ignorance and willingness to keep my head buried in the printing press.

As I told Otis back then, I’m not up to speed enough to know if there is value to blogs for the motorcycle industry yet. I see something like Jason Weigandt’s good natured self-aggrandizement at his www.theracingpaper.com blog, and I compare that to something like Moonrider’s Motorcycle World at moonrider.journalspace.com where Wendy Moon attempts to espouse conspiracy theories about how bad M$F is (the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s nickname in her world view). Is she the next great whistle blower or just a misguided individual with lots of time to kill?

In their own ways, both of these blogs apparently reach some sort of audience (or maybe they don’t and these are just frustrated creative writing efforts that get blasted off into cyberspace never to be seen again?). However, both of these exemplars do offer a glimpse at the changing nature of communication. While dinosaurs like me may see the online chat rooms as the domain of the techno nerds and Generation Y kids, the future of communication is staring us in the face, electronically speaking.

While things are certainly changing, powersports remains an industry built around the visceral experience of actually riding a motorcycle, so I think motorcycle print media may be the last bastion of traditional magazines to fall. No matter how cool a compressed digital movie clip may be or how many more words you can cram into cyber-documents versus printed pages, I still don’t think you can compare the printed pages of a spread in Cycle World or even a trade rag like MPN to an online hit.

No matter how superconnected Generation Next is going to become, the current crop of dinosaurs inhabiting the motorcycle world still seems to prefer the printed page … Plus, as a wise old parts counter man once told me, "You can’t take the computer into the john with you!"

Are there upsides to blogs, flogs, podcasts and e-zine virtual magazines? Most definitely! Maybe I’m just too delusional to see the bigger picture and how it will work to benefit MPN‘s particular niche, however we have substantially upgraded our online offerings, contrary to what the cyber-wielder of the poison pen says.

We even tried to get an online version of a dealer forum up and running about five or six years ago without much success. This failure to communicate left me even more reluctant to jump on the "print is dead" bandwagon than ever before. I guess it really is as Clint Eastwood said in another celluloid classic, Dirty Harry, "a man has got to know his limitations." My limitation is that I’m a print dinosaur, not a cyber geek.

More recently, my friend John Siebenthaler has been haranguing me about not being a blogger. The irony of me conducting podcasts at the V-Twin Expo and again at the Dealer Expo certainly was not lost on Mr. Siebenthaler. "Yesterday you couldn’t even spell ‘podcaster’ and today you are one!" Touché John. In light of my hypocrisy, maybe it is time for this old dog to learn some new tricks?

Personally I’ll never understand the satisfaction of bagging more "friends" than the next Internet predator on a MySpace site, though. It may be popular with the kids, but I think I prefer real dealer friends rather than made up cyber-personas (Dr. Nikki Sloan excluded, of course). As a trade-only publication, our total universe holds some 17,500 dealership personnel — real people who are real friends here in the real world.

Maybe I am just a dodo destined to go the way of the 2-stroke, but I still see print publications, especially those on the trade side, meeting a need. If I’m way off base here, please log onto my blog at my MySpace page … not!

Blogs, flogs, MySpace friends, podcasts … it’s all Greek to me. Give me good old fashioned print publications anytime! However it looks like print may be going the way of the 2-stroke if you believe the Internet chat rooms. Here I interview Dakar hero Chris Blais for a podcast from the Dealer Expo showfloor (www.horsepowermarketing.com).

You May Also Like

KTM ADVENTURE Rider Rally to Descend on South Dakota

The 19th annual KTM ADVENTURE Rider Rally will take place in Deadwood, South Dakota, Oct. 10-13, 2024.


KTM North America Inc. is preparing for its 19th annual KTM ADVENTURE Rider Rally, Oct. 10-13, 2024, in Deadwood, South Dakota, where like-minded adventurers will have the opportunity to participate in the historic KTM ADVENTURE Rider Rally event together and enjoy the ultimate READY TO RACE experience.

Registrations are now open, and adventurers won’t want to miss this chance to ride with like-minded KTM thrill seekers. Based out of The Lodge at Deadwood, the 2024 KTM ADVENTURE Rider Rally features exceptional adventure riding with a series of challenges and the opportunity to demo select models from our current street and dual-sport ranges.

LeMans Corp. Adds Vice President of Supply Chain

Podlewski has over 24 years in diverse roles within Harley-Davidson and 30 years with supply chain and operations in total.

Mitas Pulls Extra Power Into Its SPORT FORCE+ RS Tire Line

The two new rear sizes in the Mitas SPORT FORCE+ RS tire range are designed for more powerful motorcycles.

QuietKat’s Apex HD and XD Unveil New E-Bike Features

These cutting-edge e-bikes are pioneers featuring a host of first-to-market capabilities that redefine durability, power and utility in the great outdoors.

Zero Motorcycles and REV’IT! Collaborate on EV Apparel Collection

Zero and REV’IT! have joined forces to bring new premium protective technical apparel to electric motorcycle riders.


Other Posts

Krämer Motorcycles USA Adds to Dealer Network

Colorado Springs Powersports joins the company’s North American dealer network.

AIMExpo 2025 Returns to Las Vegas

AIMExpo is set to rock the Las Vegas Convention Center Feb. 5-7, 2025, for what is shaping up to be a third record-breaking show year.

SW-MOTECH USA Accessories for the Suzuki V-Strom 800DE

From luggage to protection and comfort accessories, SW-MOTECH has everything riders need for their next adventures.

Suzuki V-Strom 800 DE accessories
LAND Partners With Bloom to Supply Electric Battery Solutions

The LAND and Bloom collaboration spurs efficiency, growth and innovation across the light electric vehicle industry.

LAND logo