Part II: Watch Forums and Instagram’ers
In the second part, we will look at watch forums and there is no way around, also at Instagram and Facebook. Now, watch forums are a great idea: like-minded people come together and openly share information, passion and knowledge. In fact, I have been an active member of a watch forum for many years, even moderated the Girard-Perregaux forum. Through that I have also met many great people and made deep friendships.
So all is good in watch forum land? Not quite. One of the key issues I see with a forum is controlling the content. It’s a myth to believe that all people have good intentions and everything can be left as is in a forum. Discussions can easily turn into personal attacks or are simply derogative of certain tastes. A good forum needs strong moderation.
That’s not the same as censorship but with any large group of people be it a live crowd or a virtual group, controlling content is a challenge. A forum’s principle is that everyone can contribute whatever he or she likes. While that is great, you often have a high volume of low quality content. Finding the cherries within forum posts can be difficult.
Furthermore, it seems at least to me that the forum media is on a declining path. People do not want to take the time to write longer contributions if they can get more attention with a snapshot on Instagram and only contributing no content comments makes forums very tiring to follow. On a final note, running a quality forum also has high expenses, both money and time of the moderators. Most forums are no longer truly independent and rely on sponsorship or advertisement money, which will result in similar issues as we have discussed in Part I on Watch Journalism. And some forum members take advantage of the popularity of a forum by promoting their watches for sale (a.k.a. shilling) or running a side business with taking commissions and kick-backs. Something even more disgraceful than an attached online shop which at least is transparent.
And what about Instagram and Facebook?
I will not lose much time on Facebook. I had deleted my account many years ago and I will never go back, but there are a number of (often closed) special interest groups on Facebook, be it for broadly watch collectors or very specific for Nautilus Fans. Something quite popular but for me without much added value, besides not being accessible if you do not have a Facebook account.
Instagram on the other hand, one cannot ignore. Yes, “The GP Chronicles” also have an IG account, but frankly, it’s a more of a pain than a joy to me. Thankfully, T.W.O Instagram supports me as well by promoting my Blog content to Instagram’ers.
Instagram is all about Likes and Followers, spitefully you could say for narcissists. No, not everyone on IG is like that, I know some very nice fellows that post watches on IG. However, an IG post seems to have a half life of a few hours only if at all and does not go deep. People want that quick fix of a nice shot, but does anyone read any text? Probably not, as you need to keep scrolling your feed.
What about watch influencers using Instagram? They are not far off from the online magazine guys. Getting wine’d and dine’d on every event to post wristshots to their 100k followers. For me, that’s way to shallow. I may be old school, in fact I am, but my intentions are much more ambitious, which I will try to explain in Part III of this series, when we look at Independent Blogs.