The world of media has undergone a major transformation of late. Aside from putting out the print version of Hot Bike, I manage several accounts for work and personal, which means I’m online all day, every day. The previous world of simply sharing photos with family and friends on the line has long been surpassed in ways never imaginable. Anytime anything is posted, it’s visible to the world immediately with little to no chance of retraction. Having a well-managed online persona is the new webpage, résumé, and brand management and is often accessed more than any other source among most of today’s public. It’s become such an important part of either a person’s or company’s brand that the platforms have made ways to separate a post intended to be fun that expire or disappear after viewing and more permanent post that are meant to showcase a long-term image. But never forget that anything put online will never truly disappear for just as soon as apps make it possible for post to vanish—surely someone has created a app to record it.
Today there is also a whole new source of social-media employment opportunities for individuals as influencers, brand ambassadors, and online personalities. There are entire companies that have started in the past few years that cater exclusively to the online crowd with a combination of lifestyle mixed with marketplace. Win a race, post a pic, sell a shirt. Easy to say. Not easy to do.
There are even a few people who make a career out of reposting other people’s work and creativity. As a photographer, there is nothing more frustrating than to see your work showcased on someone else’s page with no credit or mention of where it came from. With the barriers to enter nothing more than a valid email account and a smartphone, only time will tell what will happen to the content creators versus the ones who merely repost or copy/paste and create a trending amusing post.
Stealing content is easy. Creating content is not. Creating unique, quality content over a long period of time while paying the bills is almost impossible. Almost. This explains why you run into the same people all over the world time and time again. I’ve always said if I could pay rent with free black T-shirts, I’d be a millionaire. It’s the advertisers and readers who allow the unique content creation a possibility.
Event coverage has drastically changed. No longer is it necessary to wait months for an article with a few highlight photos. Even taking the time to download photos and videos, edit them, and then post them later is virtually pointless. Today, creating online content from the event is crucial. The latest trend is going LIVE onsite where followers and fans can tune in and comment from an unedited video stream as it’s happening.
The internet has also created a new community of peers who have never met before except through a series of likes and comments. I can’t help to keep referencing a quote from famed builder Trevelen Rabanal from an interview I did where he stated, “Back in the day you had to experience it to understand it. Today you just Google it and something will come up.” Now, if you’re into hood shit, you no longer have to go the hood to see said shit. Simply, follow @hood_shit and see pics and photos of places you might never set foot in. Conversely, it is possible to see the world through eyes of the rich and famous and virtually experience the luxury that was historically only accessible on TV programs and magazines. But what Trevelen was saying was, you will never truly understand it, unless you live it. Attending one event does not constitute living, just as one trip to the gym doesn’t make you a health expert.
So how does a brand like Hot Bike lead the way in today’s marketplace? The jobs Jeff, Ed, Robert, and I have are to live, breath, and experience the V-twin life and share our experience across all platforms digital and traditional. None of us are experts in all aspects of the culture by any means. Each of us takes our own interest and explores them on a daily basis both in person and online. We each play a role that is unique to Hot Bike, and it’s our job and responsibility to the readers and viewers to give a valid, educated opinion that wasn’t formed overnight or based on chasing likes and comments. Most of the time, when something is finally considered “cool” we are already over it and looking for the inevitable next trend.
We would hope as an advertiser and reader that value is placed on the experience of old-world print, combined with full emersion into the new digital age. The latest cool-guy pages might give you a shout-out on IG but can never suggest improvements from years of experience of working with good and bad examples while giving you a shout-out in print and on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Tumblr, MySpace, Match, Tinder, and Christian Mingle (JK). Love us, hate us, envy us, or join us. This year Hot Bike will not only survive but dominate the V-twin media as we create new ways to provide the very best V-twin content anywhere in the world, period. Drop mic.