There seems to be growing angst among the more seasoned motoring writers caused by the outbreak of bloggers and social media types who are now occupying an increasing number of places on press events and new car launches.
It seems that PR operatives, many under the influence of their marketing colleagues, are being seduced by the holy grail of online presence and endorsement. This is not a new phenomenon.
Thirty years ago the then seasoned motoring writers, mainly members of the Guild of Motoring Writers, were experiencing similar levels of angst caused by the outbreak of provincial types who were occupying an increasing number of places on press events and new car launches.
It seemed then that PR operatives, many under the influence of dealer relationship colleagues, were being seduced by the holy grail of regional media presence and endorsement.
In both instances the complaint of those being displaced was ‘what do they know about cars or the motor industry’. In both cases the answer was ‘more than you realise, and in many cases more than you!’
The difference today is that through technology and opportunity, the “blogger” may be unknown to some, and if they are known and invited to events it’s just possible they will be too young to drive some of the cars about which they rave without hands on and bums-in experience.
In the 1980s the ‘establishment’ had a subtle way of putting the provincials in their place with the immortal words after breakfast/lunch/dinner – ‘thank you on behalf of the Guild and your other guests!’
I wonder if the establishment, whatever that may be now, will be more tolerant to the latest perceived threat to its lifestyle at a time when certain members of the establishment have embraced the newest technology to their advantage.
Motoring journalism is undergoing possibly the biggest change to its very existence with provincial and daily papers declining, merging or ceasing altogether while every spotty kid with a keyboard and a few adult ones as well are pushing themselves forward with enthusiasm and the questionable endorsements of social media.
Of one thing we can be certain, it’s social change but not as we have known it and not necessarily for the best.