Social media is an integral part of society in the 21stcentury: there are reported to be about 45 million Facebook users in the UK out of a population of 66 million, or 68%. In the Oxford Section we have 151 members in our section Facebook group, just under 50% of members and associates, a very good number, but with some opportunity to recruit more members! One of the reasons for writing this article is to try and encourage members to give the Oxford Section Facebook group a try, and to address some of the concerns of members who have not yet dipped their toes in the water of Facebook, and to give them some help.
The first thing to be said about Facebook, or any technology, is that it is neither good nor bad, it is what people choose to do with it that matters – just like motorcycles: most of us have a great time riding but a few motorcyclists manage to make themselves a public nuisance and we have to work hard to change that image. Its best not to judge the majority by the actions of extremes.
Facebook is rather like a public notice board, think before you post – not many of us would post a notice at our local supermarket saying we were going to Australia for a four-week holiday, or providing details of our private relationships! But the second important point is that you don’t have to use Facebook that way – not all notice boards are the same. The Oxford Section Facebook Group is a privategroup, which means that the content can onlybe seen by approved members, and you have to be a current Oxford Section member to post or to see other posts. Rosemary Hicks carefully checks membership requests, and we remove any lapsed members at the end of each year.
So, if you post in the Oxford Section Facebook Group you are only speaking to current Oxford members and the discussion is mostly about motorcycling, social events, ideas for future activities; for this reason, we would ideally like to have as many members as possible in the Oxford Section Facebook Group.
We do have Rosemary’s excellent weekly emails so why do we need Facebook? The reason is that the section email is like sending a mass letter, you can get replies, but it takes time, and the communication path is from Rosemary to all of recipients so answering questions takes a lot of extra messages. With a post in the Facebook Group, anyone can add to the discussion and we can all see the conversation which helps to get things sorted out quickly. Sometime members ask for advice and again that is easily dealt with. We use Facebook to manage the Short Notice Rides (SNRs), (which can be announced with only 24 hours notice), and to share experiences of rides and other events.
With the Facebook SNRs everyone can see who is coming, ask questions, post useful advice and after the event the experience can be shared on Facebook for other members to enjoy – even if they could not make it to the SNR.
So, if Facebook has a lot to offer how do you avoid some of the pitfalls? (1) The first recommendation is to limit your use of Facebook to just the things you are interested in for example you could just join the Oxford Section Facebook Group and then you will receive is information on posts and events. It is also a good idea not to ‘friend’ people unless they really are friends as this can generate a lot more notifications. (2) The second recommendation is to only give Facebook the necessary information. For myself I am happy for any long-lost contacts to find me, so I provide just enough that anyone searching will find the right Steve Moxey, although with my surname this is not usually a major problem, if you are called Joe Bloggs you will have to provide a little more! (3) The third step is to tailor your privacy settings on Facebook, so your information is not shared. Facebook has been recently working hard to give you more control over your data, I would recommend you look at the privacy settings on a computer rather than a mobile phone it’s a bit easier to navigate.
If you follow these steps you should be able to create a sensible Facebook presence that will allow you to participate in the Oxford Section Facebook Group. Tim Bolderston has also produced an excellent guide to creating a secure Facebook account for those who wish to go even further.
Some of you will know that there is a BMW Club UK Facebook Group, which I setup a couple of years ago with Simon Johnson (The BMW Club Social Secretary). This group has now grown to more than 3,800 members, for comparison the well-known UK GSer Facebook Group has 2,200 members – so Facebook is clearly useful for many BMW owners.
Good though the public BMW Club UK Facebook Group has been for promoting the BMW Club to the wider community of BMW owners it does not easily allow club discussion as the group contains both members and non-members. To address this issue Simon Johnston has now setup theBMW Club UK (Members Only) Facebook Group, which is available to all BMW Club members, so if you are already a member of the Oxford Section Facebook Group please ask to join the new BMW Club UK (Members Only) and you will be approved straightaway – to make this easy we can post details on Facebook.
This new Facebook group will hopefully allow BMW Club members to communicate more easily across the whole club, alerting members to suitable events and riding. We will now start posting those Oxford Section events that might be of particular interest to members in other sections – hopefully this will help to foster collaboration and we could see some new faces at Oxford Section events and ride-outs. The second important use of the new Facebook group is to allow BMW Club National Officers to communicate with members; the Social Secretary Simon has a particular need to communicate about events, but I could see the President and other National Officers alerting members quickly to wider attention and getting new ideas from ground level. Our BMW Club President, Ian Dobie, has been keen to increase communication across the club so the new BMW Club UK Facebook Group is a small step in that direction.
So hopefully this short article will encourage a few members to try the Oxford Section Facebook Group and if anyone needs more help and advice then please email firstname.lastname@example.org we will try and assist you. (If there is demand we could have a Getting Started with Facebook coffee morning at NOG perhaps?).
For all of our existing Facebook members, who have probably been feeling pretty smug so far I have a few things you could do to help the Oxford Section: (1) encourage a member you know to join in on Facebook, it’s always easier to get started if someone helps you, and (2) join in the new BMW Club (Members Only) Facebook Group and (3) please keep on sharing good posts in the group.
Daley Thompson the British double Olympic Gold Medal winning Decathlete once said ‘If you not in it, you can’t win it’ – and I think that philosophy sums up Facebook quite well – why not have a go?
Originally posted 2018-08-04 17:03:03.