I’ve got a long held belief that social media was invented for the petrolhead. Take twitter for example, which is essentially just a modern way of sharing dirty photos of cars and classified ads. You spot a car you like on Auto Trader, copy the link and post it to twitter. You’re then greeted with virtual nods of approval, tales of former ownership or encouragement to step away from the situation and stop being so silly. But whatever the situation, it sure beats flicking through the pages of Auto Trader in your downstairs cloakroom. The once lonely act of perusing car ads can now be shared with friends, leaving you safe in the knowledge that although your guilty pleasure may not be a healthy addiction, at least you’re amongst friends.
Twitter is a car spotter’s paradise. You see a Citroen GS Pallas on the street, so you whip out your phone and take a snap. Within seconds it is available to the globe, leading to a number of ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ in return. Or maybe somebody else has just posted a photo of a BMW 2002 they’ve just seen. You inevitably click on the link to feed your dirty habit, but hopefully fall short of turning your laptop 90º to get a better view. Phwoar!
But now a chap called Simon Ford has taken this a step further by creating a website especially for car spots. Simon has gained an almost cult status on twitter for his random and frequent tweets that contain nothing more than a photo of an obscure or interesting car. I’m guessing that Simon doesn’t sleep or ever leave the streets, as he seems to have an ability to photo cars 24 hours a day, seven days a week. He has an insatiable appetite for car snaps.
Clearly buoyed by his success, Simon, with the help of Oliver of Renault Vel Satis fame, has set up Simon’s Car Spots, a site that exists purely and simply to showcase random car photos. Originally designed as a home for Simon’s own snaps, it has since expanded to include ‘guest spotters’ who seem all too happy to send in their photos. Everyone seems to be at it! OK, so don’t expect Flickr levels of quality, but the website is strangely appealing. This is probably because it demonstrates a key element of a successful social media campaign – keep it simple. Take a basic idea, identify your audience and then watch it grow.
Who knows, Simon may have created the web’s next big thing? The possibilities are endless. I mean, think of the advertising revenue opportunities, I’d imagine photographic, automotive and anorak companies will be forming a long and disorderly queue. Perhaps in five years time we’ll be watching a blockbuster movie on how it all started – a sequel to The Social Network. If nothing else, it will provide a constantly updated snapshot of the cars roaming the streets of the UK.