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Sunday, August 21, 2011
JULIAN MOTOR CLUB (JMC) & Road Rockerz: Fast, furious and Facebook!
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Prince Frederick, The Hindu /
August 21, 2011.
GEARED UP Members of Road Rockerz.
Motoring groups have managed to create a huge following through social media. Prince Frederick on the new drive.
“It does not matter which bike you own. It does not even matter if you own one or not. If you have a passion for automobiles, you can join us!” says Road Rockerz on its Facebook profile. Julian Motor Club (JMC) invites all those who will promise to “act responsibly on the roads” to its group rides — again on Facebook.
These two belong to a new class of motoring groups that effectively use social media to run their programmes. Employing these tools, some of them have managed to create a huge following for alternative motoring. The galloping popularity of the Indian Radio Control Racers' Association (IRCA) is a classic example. IRCA, which had a modest beginning with about 20 RC-car enthusiasts last year, began to grow by leaps and bounds once the Association's founders — Murali Kannadhason and Ajo Joseph — gave it a Facebook address. With about 500 members and numerous visitors, its page has become a wide space for sharing information about the hobby.
“In the early days, we realised that people had outlandish notions about the RC car racing. Most thought of these cars as toys. It's a hobby that can't grow unless ignorance is countered with accurate information,” says Murali. In one year, IRCA has won over many from around the country to the hobby. “Guided discussions on IRCA's Facebook page help many of them decide which RC cars to buy.” IRCA's popularity is an encouragement for companies dealing in products pertaining to this hobby to spam on its pages. “Every day, Ajo and I weed out posts promoting spurious products.”
Senthil Kumar of Road Rockerz (RR) can similarly vouch for the power of the Internet in mobilising huge groups for motoring activities. RR began as a small Yamaha Fazer community. However, when they went on Facebook, the floodgates were opened. “People who did not have Fazers were following our adventures, and we decided to open the group to them,” says Senthil. With posts and pictures pertaining to men and machines that successfully completed 1,000-km solo rides and longer ones, promoted by endurance racing organisations such as Iron Butt Association, there is a powerful incentive for people to attempt similar feats. “People who can't undertake such rides due to family commitments have also joined and they vicariously experience the thrills of endurance riding.” Senthil admits this could not have happened without Facebook.