Facebook and Email makes sailing more challenging

by Chris Kameen on August 16, 2013

social-media-iconsThose of  you that have been following Sydney Sailing School on Social Media will know that we have taken quite a pro-active approach to trying to engage and build the relationships in a cyber world, and it is good fun, hopefully those that engage also like it!

What I have observed is that organising sailing required people to engage face to face and discuss who was going to do what and when it was going to be done. As a consequence clubs developed around this shared experience and hanging out together and it is therefore no surprise that those people really got involved and were happy to spend all day down at the club.

For a raft of reasons there are more things competing for people’s time, and so the time for catching up and discussing things has slipped with events being organised on Facebook and via email. This approach though needs careful management as it addresses some of the time commitment issues around sailing, but doesn’t address the maintenance of the sailing club culture. Not everyone is on Facebook, not everyone reads their emails daily, some people read so many emails daily that the last thing that they want to do is do sport that looks like work.

Social Media and electronic communication is clearly the way of the future with regards organising events, but I think we should be careful that we don’t miss the point of what sailing clubs are about and that is ‘likeminded people hanging out together’. If we want to get new people into the sport we need to engage them through social media, but then when they arrive at the club we need to ensure that their needs are addressed. They haven’t necessarily bought into 2 hour races and being at the sailing club all day at the weekend, I’d argue that they haven’t even bought into the idea of commitment and turning up if they say they are going to. These people are likely to give sailing a go if it is easy and good fun.

As stalwarts of the clubs we might say “well this is the way that we do it, if they don’t like they can go somewhere else”,  and that is the challenge for sailing.

Let me know if you have any thoughts on this and post your comments below or on:

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