Good Ol' Boy, TDIClub Enthusiast
- Jul 2, 2000
- Springfield, VA
- ‘18 Tesla Model 3D+, ‘14 Cadillac ELR, ‘13 Fiat 500e
GTGs are an integral part of the community, and meeting fellow forum members bolsters the sense of membership and belonging, and leads long friendships and resources. They're like going to your neighborhood block party - you end up being more than people who share a common space - you actually get to know each other and put faces to the names.I'd love to do a local GTG in Central Texas. Heck, even if we had quarterly or bi-annual GTG's in different parts of Texas, for those of us who live here, that would be quite nice (I know there are lots of us TDI drivers, as previously discussed, but being the big state it is, we're very spread out). GTG's in general, regardless of state/region, could be good - local clubs could have more say in planning out a larger TDIfest and help to captivate more interest in the larger event. Or... my idea could be full of crap. But I'm thinking more of the former.
But going back to Lawson's suggestions, I'm really liking the idea of GTGs, again, possibly by region even. We could have one for New England, Eastern Seaboard, South West, West, Midwest, etc. Just depends on who's interested and obviously making it happen. Maybe have fun outings driving on scenic roads, raffles, short (1-2 hour) seminars.
I highly recommend frequenting the regional/GTG discussion forums and making an effort to reach out to people and participate in activities.
Chris, you're right on the money, as usual. GTGs are key to keeping things at a higher level than just an online community. I think once Dieselgate is settled, we will see the enthusiast base grow. Many of the "normies," if you will, will turn their vehicles in and move on to something else, and the enthusiasts will be more interested in keeping their TDIs on the road. The question will be: is that enthusiast base enough to sustain the community for the foreseeable future? I don't know, but we will find out soon enough.A long time ago it was discussed that Tdifest could be done in regions...ie: eastern one year, central next year, western the following and repeating. That would be great..but as mentioned...it takes work and attendance for that to all happen...we have not had good attendance the last few years and in terms of planning...its always the same people...we will burn them out and have nothing if this continues. In my opinion, there are a few factors contributing to the decline of attendance. One is the lack of GTG's. Without these...we are all essentially internet lurkers with little to connect us outside of the virtual world. As a result...few would be willing to travel to a destination for what is essentially a large gtg. We need the small ones. Those are the fuel that create the fire that drives the club.
Another is that for several years(the commonrail years) many buyers are regular buyers as opposed to enthusiasts. Regular buyers typically have no interest in the car beyond transportation...and as so many owners are now regular buyers...our attendance overall dropped. With the older cars, folks would search out ways to get problems solved, work done more accurately, performance mods done and so on. Once they discovered what is essentially a treasure trove of knowledge and devotion to fellow enthusiasts....they became as crazy as the rest of us. Enter the new owners. Some still come for answers to questions or to have work done or modifications...but mostly...its complaining. And many have no interest in solutions so the whole scene suffers. Older members get jaded by all the shenanigans and stop logging in as much...if at all.
Some of the lack of attendance is simple life...babies, moves, changes in occupations or scheduling...and so on. Life uses up our time...so we dont always have time for a forum. But you know what? We make time for the things we enjoy. How many people religiously watch the walking dead...or game of thrones and such as these? Some binge watch whole seasons. So really, is it lack of time? or lack of interest? Many of the newer owners as I said are not enthusiasts...not much interest. And as the newer cars seem to be the bulk of the wheels on the ground...thats a factor. Along with so many returning their cars for cash....there may be significantly less cars....and less owners...therefor less members(active ones).
How to engage the minds and hearts of diesel loving people again? I'm open to suggestions...I have some ideas, but it takes a concerted effort by all interested parties to remedy this decline. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to attend tdifest this year. It was fun as always...but I did notice a small resurgence of young enthusiasts...and also new faces that were older. So perhaps we will be on he mend if we continue to work at it. Fred also did a couple of Q&A's to feel out the club for ideas on how to improve things. What people would like to see...new..and old...
The level of talent at the typical tdifest is staggering. If we had gtg's like that...we would have way more interest. Once this scandal is on the mend...I think people will be more open to the return of the diesel(star wars pun intended). We however must be ready to receive them in the way we used to...my hope is that more of the newer owners will become enthusiasts due to the love of the car as a tool...and the need to find ways to continue driving them. This is a small seed that can grow into a mighty tree if we could find a way to keep it watered....
I think the two year rotation will help reduce pressure on the planners, and allow more time to plan successful events in new locations. On the flip side, is every-other-year often enough to keep people interested? With regular local GTGs, I think so.I've talked with organizers about the every other year idea for TDIFest. I know other organizations who do that, and it seems to result in better attendance.
I'm still hoping for one somewhere in the West, hopefully where it's cool on Labor Day.