Of all the changes that have occurred in relationships between entities and constituents in the 21st century, communication and collaboration may be the biggest. In the case of the media, readers no longer tolerate the ivory tower approach that marked the newspapers of the 20th century. Rather than simply accept news as fact, today’s reader sees shades of perspective and have opinions, both pro and con, about the news they encounter.
Blogging has cemented the readers place in the new media, by giving you, the reader, a chance to talk back. Whether the comment is served as a second, a confirmation of the writer’s effort or a dissent signaling that the author may have it wrong, comments have legitimized and elevated the opinions of the reader, making media much more collaborative than it has been in the past.
That need to peak behind the curtain and know more about the inner workings of the media has several sources, but I suspect the biggest ingredient is suspicion. Readers are suspicious of media organizations’ relationships with their advertisers and often with their subjects as well. The quest for revenue has blurred lines that used to be sacrosanct, much the way cycling shorts used to be black. Period.
If you’ve read the About page or my profile, then you’re already aware that I am making an effort to show you around my workbench. I suppose in time I’ll reveal the metaphoric tools I use, but Red Kite Prayer is less about the execution of the work than the approach to the work itself. Put another way, I doubt you are concerned with which truing stand I use, but whether I de-tension spokes before tensioning others.
To that end, I have created a group for RKP on Facebook. Rather than create a microblog for RKP about what is up with the blog, I’ll use Facebook to signal some coming attractions and solicit more direct feedback.
Not everyone uses social networking sites and some are downright hostile to them. I had zero interest in MySpace, but after joining Facebook for the sole purpose of staying abreast of group ride news (I’m amazed by the number of choices I have in rides every day), I quickly realized its staggering ability to allow me to reconnect with old friends. It’s become a must-see on a daily basis.
Facebook will give you, the readership, a chance to initiate contact with RKP publicly, rather than only responding to a post. Something in that sounds healthy.
Like any writer, I want my work to have an audience. Knowing that my work has shaped a conversation, popular opinion or even just struck a nerve to initiate further thought on a subject is deeply satisfying. For me, it’s always been about the work, rather than a desire for fame.
So I hope you’ll understand when I tell you that the Facebook group isn’t meant to promote me, though if you want to friend me, I’m happy to confirm you. It will also give you a chance to connect with RKP’s other contributors. I don’t want to blur lines, so I’ll do what I can to separate me as a person from my work as a writer.
Be in touch.
You may recall my post from last winter on the cotton cycling cap. Chock full of nostalgia and ambivalence, the post sparked a stunning number of comments for so humble an item. They were all, shall we say, of a piece. Frankly, I was surprised that there was so much support and desire for an RKP hat.
Robot, God love him, got things rolling with Castelli and we’re pleased to report that they’ll begin shipping from RKP‘s SoCal headquarters during the first week of the Tour. Twenty bucks gets you a cap and some stickers, too.
I will be officially retiring that old, blue Alexia Alluminio cap the moment these arrive.
You can order them here.
A little update: They are here and are shipping out!
Bike Radar is the lifestyle sister site to Cyclingnews owned by Future Publishing. Veteran cycling journalist Matt Pacocha is the US Editor at Bike Radar and runs the site’s “Web Site of the Week” feature. We were honored to be asked to be featured as the site of the week there.
Matt did a fine job of capturing the essence of RKP. We hope you’ll check out the piece, and forward a link to your friends who may not be reading us right now. See the writeup here.
Here at RKP World Headquarters we’ve been dreaming up lots of fresh ideas—besides the ones in our posts. We decided against the Beatles cover band that would arrange the Fab Four’s hits as tangos. We also rejected the furniture factory that would make couches from Jell-O. We were all set to commission Claude Monet to paint a portrait of Eddy Merckx, but we were reminded that Monsieur Monet’s availability dropped considerably after what was termed a “major life event” in 1926.
Though we are still in negotiations to hold the Sherwood Schwartz Commemorative Gran Fondo in the San Fernando Valley, we’ve decided to stick closer to stuff we know.
To that end, Robot has designed a T-shirt to commemorate Thor Hushovd’s recent win at the world championships. You’ll see more details on it and how to order one in the next day or two.
We’ve also slapped the RKP logo on two items guaranteed to improve the look of anyone’s riding ensemble. First up, we asked Specialized to do a run of the new Purist bottle with our logo. Half of the bottles feature the new Mo-Flo high-flow valveless top, while the other half feature the new Watergate top with the self-sealing Heart Valve.
And because a comfy foot is a happy foot, we asked DeFeet to do a run of our all-time favorite socks, the Wooleators. Half the run is natural (off-white) for good weather riding, while the other half of the run is charcoal (so you can get them clean following your own personal Paris-Roubaix).
The bottles and socks are in stock and are up on the store. You might mention to your loved ones you want the gift pack of socks, bottles and stickers.