Often new Model T owners, or folks who want to be, show up on Facebook Model T groups asking for help and advice. Some of us always direct them here and suggest getting into a local club. But that latter suggestion should be more user friendly than it is. When somebody looking for a local chapter goes to the contact pages of the two national clubs, he finds a great many entries list only a postal address. The MTFCA chapters are better at listing phone numbers, email, and/or websites, but even some of the local MTFCA affiliates list only snail mail addresses, and that goes for most of the MTFCI chapters.
Given the demographics of the Model T world, heavily skewed in an elderly direction, I suppose this is not surprising. But this is 2017, not 1917 or even 1957, and in this present century a great many folks prefer the convenience and immediacy of electronic communication.
Occasionally there's a forum discussion speculating on the future of the Model T hobby, and these discussions always include jeremiads lamenting declining interest. But the fact is, as I pointed out recently, that we are and always have been a small minority of a small minority, but at the same time there are and will continue to be folks who want to become involved. We should be using modern communication media to make it easy for them to do so.
If you are the contact person for a local chapter and the only means of contact you provide is the post, I would urge you to fix that. Don't know how? Get some kid to teach you. It ain't rocket surgery. After all, you learned to drive a Model T, didn't you?
Excellent thought, Steve. Much Much easier to drive a computer than driving a T.....
Well said Steve. Unfortunately there is a lot of stubbornness out there...
I couldn't agree more Steve.
I work for a small privately owned company in the oil and gas business in Houston and have recently started communicating with some of my younger customers via texting.
The older guys at the company scoffed at this notion...until several significant orders came in this way.
Well, a phone number in the listings might be a compromise where both parties could meet over distance in instant communication - some 19:th century ideas are still quite OK
(Ok, due to active aggressive telemarketing scammers, a public listed phone may have to be connected to an answering machine at all times, so the communication might be slightly delayed..)
I would suggest that the list might be updated as I tried for weeks to contact the local club on Long Island with no response. Found out later through the HCCA local chapter that they had the same experience with the Long Island Model T club.
My local club asked if I could help make them a page. I made them a Facebook page. The reasons 1, it's free. 2, it's easy. 3, it's interactive for the members. 3, I can add things or changes things in real time from a phone. Now I wish people would just open an account and use it cause I would actually love to stay in touch with model t people close to me!
A couple of years ago when I was starting into the hobby I found the phone number of the closest club and gave the president a call. After numerous attempts I got an answer. He told me that I was just too far away to consider becoming a member (about an hour away). I dropped any interest in that club.
Not only is the method of contact outdated, but there can also be some crotchety, unwelcoming folks too.
Scanners. With their hands on an active address is one reason. Others are: it's not required, not on line,hates FB.
I would not use a personal E-Mail address but would set up a club E-Mail address such as firstname.lastname@example.org then club officers would all have access and could check the inbox and delete anything that didn't start with an inquiry about the club. This would hold down the number of scams associated with E-Mail. I try to limit my interaction with the biblical beast! JMHO YMMV!
GR..I'll show my ignorance here...what's the "YMMV" stand for? I'm "up" on most of the acronyms, but not that one!
Your mileage may vary
We are very fortunate in the Casual T's, chapter MTFCI and the Piquette T's, chapter MTFCA/MTFCI.
THANK YOU STEVE S.!!!
On the MTFCA Chapters page the Chapter Happenings link has not been updated since 2013.
Our Dairyland Tin Lizzies chapter of the MTFCA has a nice website: Just Google: Dairylandtinlizzies
to check it out yourself. We do get lots of general inquires.
The MTFCA also gets lots of inquires about Model T's, and as a member of the Board of Directors, I've helped many of the people who call with T related questions and I always suggest that they become a member of a local chapter. I'll give them contact information for a local chapter near them, whether it's an MTFCA or a MTFCI chapter, as I just want to help anyone in this regard, and I am a member of both of the national clubs.
Someone in another post suggested that the two national clubs merge.
Having separate forums as well as a face book forum does the same thing as having several different clubs. Someone will post here and the facebook crowd will not see it. And likewise someone will post on facebook and we will not see it. This forum works very well and most of us are using it. Why should we have to look in several places?
As for me, I don't even have a facebook account and don't plan on getting one!
Rose City Model T club has a Facebook page and a link on the web. While I don't use the Facebook page as much as I should, spend too much time here , all it has to have is a link included to this and the International clubs web sites. I will have to check and see if it does and fix it if I can. I know our club web site (which is non interactive) does.
As an individual, I can look down my elderly snoot with disdain for "social media" all I want. But if I'm the contact person for a local club I'm jolly well going to provide an email address or a phone number, and ideally both.
"This forum works very well and most of us are using it." Depends on what you mean by us. If it means everybody with an interest in Model T's, from the experienced guy with a bunch of them, to the new guy who just bought one, to the aspirant who has yet to acquire his first, then no, most of us are not using it. In fact, most of the people I just described don't even know it exists. I have a friend, a couple of years older than me, who drove his 1924 touring to high school every day. That was sixty years ago. He has decades more Model T experience than I have, yet I'm often surprised to find what he doesn't know, from parts sources to technical information. And he's not alone. I meet people like that all the time, and when I tell them about this forum and recommend it, I can see my words going in one ear and out the other. The problem comes when those folks become a club's contact person. Then their aversion to anything but snail mail becomes a barrier.
"I would not use a personal E-Mail address but would set up a club E-Mail address..." Steve Bumgarner, MTFCI executive director, offered to do just that. He told me, "We sent out a letter to each Chapter and asked if they would [like] to have their Chapter contact person have a contact email and we got no response." Got that? He offered to have email inquiries go to Russ, who would screen out the spammers and scammers, and forward the messages to the local chapters. And out of more than a hundred MTFCI chapters "...we got no response."
In reading my new Model T Times recently, I noted a comment about declining membership and the need to recruit new members. I believe a change in attitude or mindset on the part of a good many contact people should be a part of that.
I happen to be the contact person for the Puget Sound Chapter and my personal email address and phone number are both on the MTFCA Chapters page and have been for several years. I do occasionally get a call or email for assistance or information and several times have been called because heirs want to find how to best market their father's car(s). I have yet to get scammers or otherwise undesirable emails or phone calls. OK, the sky could fall tomorrow but in the scheme of things, it's all been good so far. Our website needs serious attention but we are working on that and expect to get it fixed for both a web page and a link to our Facebook page. Part of our job is to stay visible and available.
If the hobby wants to continue for any significant amount of time? It must accept if not embrace modern social methods and technologies.
I have often said that I hate Facebook. I have personal reasons for my disdain of them and the way they run their site. But it is their site.
The hobby is falling short in the way it handles new technologies. This site (in my opinion) is the best in the hobby in many ways. Unlike too much of the information technology, it is user friendly in the real world. It still works on dial-up and other areas where the gamer mentality fails to understand that the whole world does not live how and where they do.
However, much of the world does live near where the gamers do. Whether I like it or not, the antique automobile and model T hobbies should be well represented on Facebook. And, basically, they are now. What is sorely missing now, is links to local help.
Every solid, viable, local club should have current phone numbers, that work, whether directly answered or leave-a-message, readily available through current publications and websites. They should also have someone able and willing to text responses. Simple email specifically for the club should be provided, with several members authorized to check and forward messages as needed.
Like it or not. Any club that isn't on its death-bed, should have a website. Even if it is only a single page with a few paragraphs about them. And CURRENT phone numbers, email address, etc, for direct contact.
If a club does not have a member willing AND able to maintain a website on a regular basis? A single page to provide a link-to site and maintained directions for further contact should be adequate for most intelligent people.
One thing that is very important. If a club is going to try to have a fancy website? They need to keep it up to date. Way too many antique automobile sites on the web are not kept up anywhere nearly enough. I have a wide interest in history, early automobiles, music, and related interests. I all too often wander into sites that are pathetically out of date. Several sites that I have bookmarked over the past ten years have expired. Some of those were places I liked. A few have been replaced, mostly by sites that after a couple years still say "under construction", come back back later. Sadly, at least two of the Sacramento area local clubs last year got so behind that the "upcoming events calendar" listed events that had occurred at least six months earlier. One I found a "last updated" that was more than a year old. And both of these were sites that had been well maintained before.
This is a big part of my problem with the computer and gamer generation. They are all promise, and no delivery. They don't tell you that someone actually has to do the maintenance. A badly out-of-date site is worse than no site at all. A simple page or two, kept up, with contact information is better than no site at all, and better than a fancy site that has failed to give proper information.
I wish I had even a snail mail contact for a T club in the state of Georgia. Horeseless Carriage Club, yes, but no Model T affiliate at all.
In my other hobby, military vehicles, we face the same dilemma. We send out newsletters via email, and many members want the postage stamp version, even though it only comes in black and white due to copying costs. Electronic versions are color phtographs. Blast emails for events don't reach all or some members whom read their emails only on Sunday morning. We have some members that test, some tweet, some Facebook, some email and some telephone call. But it is what it is.
In marketing, we call this a shotgun approach. Throw enough out there and you'll hit something.
Robert, If you can find 4 other people in Georgia with a Model T and an interest in starting a chapter you could form your own new chapter and be the 1st one in Georgia! Someone had to start in all of the other locations.
MTFCI lists one Georgia club:
North Georgia T's
P.O. Box 672
Fairmount, GA 30139
Snail mail only, of course.
I'm the youngest member of my local club. I'm guessing by a good margin. But I wasn't looking to join a club until the president of our local chapter found me on this forum and reached out. I haven't joined the "big clubs" yet, partially due to cost involved. Perhaps when I have some more income later in life I will. For right now it's pretty cheap and easy to join the local chapter. At least in my area.
Maybe some of our more seasoned members can look at the new guys' pages and figure out where they're from and invite them to join either the local chapter or the larger clubs. Just an idea.
I'm 33 years old and have been car collector since I was 16. I can say the following without hesitation as a member of the "younger" group that so many car clubs seek to attract. These are dealbreakers for me (i.e. I will not join or be active with a club if these situations exist):
- No way to pay for or renew membership online. I don't have a checkbook, never have. Online pay, even at a premium, is the only way to fly.
- No easy access to information. If I have to scroll through a poorly-made, impossible to read on a mobile phone website, I'm not going to join.
- No social media presence. Facebook, like it or not, is essentially the dominant communication tool of our time. Without a page which is updated with new information / content on a regular basis, you will not attract young people.
- No option to receive the newsletter / magazine in an electronic version. I love my print materials but, darn it, they take up a lot of room (something which many young people do not have in this world of underemployment, student loans, and apartment living).
- Limited opportunities to engage outside of business hours. Most of us still work; a club meeting at 5pm or a cruise at noon on a weekday is probably not going to happen.
I have joined several car clubs and immediately regretted the decision because of one or more of these factors. I have been a one-year member of at least three that I can think of off-hand.
(Message edited by zdillinger on May 19, 2017)
Zac, that was a very well thought out post that brings up many good points. The only other thing I could think of was inactivity. An in active club is not a great way to attract new members. And one that turns down the possibility of new members to revive it is as equally frustrating to see.
Our club is rather active, and plans tours accordingly to suit as many members as possible. Having a presence, online (and current) and in person I feel are about the only two good ways left to get people involved.
Enthusiasm and standing by the interest of any club goes a long way.
I suppose I can change. If we really want to encourage these bright young folks to take up the hobby, the least we can do is try to meet them half way. It still is tough to change the old ways we have gotten comfortable with.
Thanks for the lead on the T club in GA. I'll send up some smoke signals this weekend and see if I can get involved. I know Hal Davis is in Soughern GA and a few other members ID's pop up and Dan Hatch has been a blessing in AL, but all are several hours drive away. And that's in a modern car!
Headed to a car show this weekend with the War Wagon in Statesboro, GA, a 4 hr drive. But, maybe I can see some other T's and make some contacts.
It wouldn't take much to get me to look into starting a chapter in the Atlanta area if I felt there was a need or demand for it.
I think our clubs Scribe is a little upset with being ask to change, after all he just finished our last club letter!
Dennis is this your photographer?
As a young enthusiast, it irks me when I see the open disdain for younger generations. Whether it's complaining that young people don't have the patience to do certain things, or are "all promise and no delivery", it gets old. It doesn't do much to draw younger enthusiasts in.
Michael, you have to give us "old timers" some understanding, we weren't raised in an "Online world." I read Zachary's posting and it's a bit of an eye opener. I write checks, almost everyday, and think paying a premium for buying online to be an expense to avoid (Yes, I think I'm related to Jack Benny)--but he reminded me of a young friend of mine who told me he wanted to join the local Concert Association, but couldn't because they didn't take credit cards--otherwise he couldn't afford it. This didn't make sense to me, because either way he's paying (now or on the "never-never."), but I'm seeing that is the younger mind-set (not putting it down, just recognizing it). Living, as I do, in an area with NO Cell coverage, where the ONLY communications available to the outside world is a land-line (terribly maintained, I might add), Facebook is an impossibility for me. I can't "do" social media even if I wanted to!
So have some patience for us, some of us do still live in "Bedrock."
PS; as to this thread's title, 'Why not join the present Century?"
Because, so far, it's Lousy!!
Joke, I say; Son, it's a Joke! (Foghorn Leghorn voice)
Get off my lawn!
Bad-mouthing the young folks is a tradition that goes back to ancient times.
And here I was, trying to be a good boy, not drifting the thread any further. A historic cultural reference like that comes along?!
Early Greek mythology dates from before the Greeks learned to read and write. One of the earliest tenets of Greek mythology is that each generation is "less heroic" than previous generations. So, yes, putting down the younger generation does go way back!
Steve J, Would you believe that I have never seen "Bye Bye, Birdie". I have seen thousands of movies from 1900 through 2015. But not that one.
This forum is as close to a Facebook format as I will go. Don't have
the time or interest and feel too many people get sucked in to the
paradigm of thinking everyone wants to know what they had for lunch,
complete with photos of the dog and grandkids. By extension, I am
not much of a "club" guy either. Clubs tend to be car show and tour-
centric as their primary function, and neither of these interest me.
So, I guess my point is I come from a different perspective on this
subject. What is the point of a club ? And why do we care ? I LOVE
that Tom Carnegie and Crew host the Tuesday night "shop nights" and
any crazed loon with a Model T interest can come and share in the
fountain of learning and doing, but it really isn't a club, per se. More
of a social group with a bent on learning up neophytes and greenhorns
on the finer points of the Tin Lizzie. To my way of thinking, THIS is how
the hobby is grown and brought to new people .... make it readily available
and possible for a total stranger to cars like ours to see how easy and
fun it can be to build and drive a Model T. Website ? Newsletter ?
What is the point ?
I am a firm believer in leading by example. And if ever we are to steward
this hobby into the hands of future nutjobs like ourselves, we need to drive
these things and make them seen, pique the curiosity and interest of new
minds, and most importantly, be available and receptive to those who
might show interest. Just last Tuesday (after the shop session at the
Antique Auto Ranch) most attendees "went for burgers" down the road
about a mile. When I pulled in, a kid with a grim from ear to ear approached
and was gushing about how cool my truck is. I answered a few questions
and asked him how far off he was from driving. He responded "Three years".
I told him to come down to The Ranch on a Tuesday night and learn more
about them. Perhaps stir up his "inner rust" ?
Who knows ? But the point is, if these cars just sit, or only go to car shows,
or on tours, how are new minds ever going to interface with those of us in
the hobby today to get a foot in the door ? Go online and see if there is a
club ? Again, what does that get a noobie ?
I guess I see this conundrum as having more of a hands-on solution than
some internet access. Sure, an internet presence might lead people in, but
it will always be the personal interface that makes an outsider feel like they
want to be a part of something.
Clubs may have shows and tours, but they may also have field days...
...and work sessions...
...and there's no reason you can't be in a club and also go out for a recreational evening drive after dinner.
See and be seen, as part of a club and on your own.
Clubs do provide technical information, help, and advice, and facilitate contacts with other Model T aficionados. A club provides this forum.
All good points. I would just make the argument that it all depends
on the way clubs and club members promote club functions.
And do things to promote. Some hardly ever do anything, and some have a variety of activities monthly or more. That depends on who's involved.
Perzackly ! I have been key in several clubs over the years. 1% of the
members carry 100% of the weight, while the other 99% do 100% of the
bitching. It is why I espouse the "Marine Corps way". Do NOT be the guy
doing less than 100%. But we all know how the real world works too. It
is also why I shun the typical club form and function.
But to be fair, get a group of Oo-Rah minded people together and it will
be a great experience, no matter the subject. Stuff gets done. I just got
tired of carrying the weight for the whiners and do-nothings. I am sure
others have given up for similar reasons and just go have fun on their own.
Burger seems to have hit the nail on the head.
The ones who truly enjoy the club as it is do everything they have always done, because if it ain't broke why fix it? The ones who don't like the way the club is operating find that it's easier to complain about the way things are being run than to assume a leadership role and fix it. The ones on the outside either listen to the ones who are actually doing something in the club and decide to join, or they listen to the whiners and decide the club isn't where they want to be.
My car club in college was the same way. When I joined the club my freshman year, the only thing the president and the board cared about was our annual car show. This drove a lot of students away from a pretty good thing. It got harder to get people to work the car show, because they didn't see any benefit to being there. The whiners ran off a lot of good people.
By my senior year, I and my board turned it around. We created a lot of events during the course of the year. We had car-themed movie nights in one of the bigger lecture halls. We had root beer floats and cookouts outside the school shops. We even staged a cruise to a local drive-in theater to watch movies. We found out that if you had people excited about membership during the rest of the year, they were more likely to volunteer for helping with the various aspects of the car show.
I don't think we need to reinvent the wheel here, but there has to be something new that can be done. I agree with Steve's original premise for the thread. More ways of communication would do a world of good. And give plenty of incentives for new members to join.
David, you have raised an interesting point. Many if not most members of my generation and the generation after me are in a very poor place from an economics standpoint. As I was saying in my first post, they are dealing with underemployment, no real growth in salaries, ever increasing student loan debt (that we were ensured that we needed a degree to be successful and that paying them back would be no big deal), and housing concerns. Collecting cars and joining clubs is pretty low on the list of important things to pay for. Passing it off on a credit card may be the only way to make it happen.
I am lucky not to be in a poor economic situation. I have excessive student loans but I can pay them. I have a house. This is all because I got married young and we have two very good incomes in a kow cost of living area. My insistence on online pay has nothing to do with affording the payment. It is purely about covenience and monwy managenent. I use a budgeting software that ties directly to that card and breaks down what I spend into categories... think of it like a modern version of the old envelope system. Plus, they don't teach money management or checkbook balancing in school any more so it causes problems for young people.
Anyhow, I was just trying to share a young person's pespective. In every club I belong to (not just car related) there is always the doom and gloom discussion about young people. Besides being highly insulting (usually) it isn't very productive overall.
We are out there; if you want us you have to work within our constraints and appeal to us to get us to use our limited spare income to take part.
(Message edited by zdillinger on May 21, 2017)
(Message edited by zdillinger on May 21, 2017)
Once I joined a antique tractor and engine club back about 99. I later found since i did a few things here and there that I suddenly got put into doing them all the time.there was about 5 of us that did security at the shows at night and blah blah.But the rest,wore the shirts,let their family's thru for free at the shows and bragged about all the things the club did,as we 5 wiped the sweat from our brows .And I was a engine guy,turns out the only 1,so I was never really part of the crowd.I didn't have a glossy John Deere B.
The local T club I am a member of on the other hand is a dang good bunch of folks.
Zachary,you have valid points,glad you brought them up.But paying everything online is scary to alot of us.
It sounds like the old guidance counselors are still at taking money under the table from colleges to help drum up business. Convincing everyone they need a college degree.
I have not got a face book membership.And unless it becomes some kind of law punishable by castration or other serious pain causing treatment,I won't have 1. I think my "@$$" is on a friends page as he took a pic of me sharpening a lawnmower blade.
This forum works, cell phone companys need to pic up the pace on their technology to be compatible.
Zachary, I really appreciated your post, in fact I've shared it with the Concert Association board for the insights it provides. As for economic constraints, I too, have them. I was mostly self-employed, and although I knew better, there never seemed to be "extra money" to put aside. My specialties have become, well, less popular in today's economy and society (Museum curator, pre-war car restoration and Piano Tuner). I never made big bucks, but usually enjoyed my work, so there's a trade-off.
So, don't feel that economic hardship is only for the young! BTW, not crying in my beer (root beer for me),nor looking for sympathy, just stating the economic facts of my life.
We've digressed interestingly, but whether or not we personally use Facebook, the telegraph, or smoke signals is irrelevant. The relevant point is that in the second decade of the twenty-first century, local chapters should be available by twentieth century means (email), and/or nineteenth century means (telephone).
Just a thought ..... semi-related.
I have known about the Antique Auto Ranch since before I moved to Spokane, 20 years ago.
I had no association with it, and the cars I was interested in were much newer than what they
were in to. But, when I came to Spokane, I ended up drifting through there and checking it out.
Fast forward 15 years or so, and I decide to commit myself to getting that old Ton Truck and
lurnin' m'seff all up about it. I refamiliarized myself with the guys at the Ranch (they knew bad
news when it came knocking) and I got on that world wide web thing and began asking questions
of the MTFCI and MTFCA. The former was all crickets, and we all know the story with the latter.
Two things began to rapidly become apparent to me as I read the various posts on the MTFCA
1. Model T owners are fearful of driving their cars in traffic around the places they live, and
2. SO MANY model T owners are long distances from other Model T owners, and by extension,
largely on their own, in terms of activities and learning/support, and general comraderie.
This led me to realize how #@! lucky we Spokanistanis are to have the Antique Auto Ranch right
here in our back yard, and an endless choice of roads to meander in any direction that are MADE
for Model T driving.
As it relates to club functions and stewarding the hobby, this plays right in to the subject Steve
brings up about lack of accessibility. We have a forum member here that has a truck like mine.
He says he lives 80 miles away. I know the area, and it is a LONG eighty miles out his way ! But
when I think about long road trips and big empty spaces across the west, I am betting there are
a LOT of Model T owners that only WISH they were 80 miles from such an awesome resource as
the one I take for granted just across town.
There are a lot of players at the Ranch on Tuesday nights. Several dozen that randomly show up.
Some are regulars. Others show up once in a while. But it is almost always a beehive of old school
foolishness and learning going on and even a dim bulb like me can hang around and get reasonably
skilled in the ways of the T.
Tom Carnegie has worked The Ranch into a pretty magical place for T owners and T ownership. I
am unaware of any other place like it anywhere. From the shop and parts shelves to the wrecking
yard out back, the setting is near perfect. Populate with old crazies who know lots of minutia about
forgotten tech, and it could not get any better
While it might be a bit of an undertaking, it seems to me that if people want a club-like atmosphere
and place to commune for all things T, this is the model on which to pattern a club. And as the movie
quote goes, "Build it and they will come". That may look simply like a reachable person via email or
telephone, or it could be something as regular and active as what we enjoy in Spokane. All it takes
is energy and initiative !