[Harp-L] Re: my 2 cents on the SPAH thing

I'm fairly new to SPAH, being a member for about 5 years now. From where I sit - SPAH was created as a sort of uber-organization to local harmonica clubs which became very popular in the heydey of the harmonica bands of the 40's and 50's. But today the local harmonica club is on the endangered species list. Newer players are more geographically dispersed and physical clubs are less likely to grow or form for a variety of reasons. But the Internet has changed everything. It is extremely successful at forming communities of folks with common interest, no matter how geographically dispersed. As a vendor, I couldn't possibly have a business without the Internet that lets me reach harmonica players world wide. 

I think we all have to realize that the fundamental basis of SPAH, the local harmonica club, is going away. The Internet however creates communities because anyone can participate, no matter where they are located. In order to survive, SPAH MUST embrace the Internet as its PRIMARY means of communicating AND delivering value. With all of the wonderful people, good will, pro level talent and relationships we have there is no reason that SPAH shouldn't be the Number One resource for harp players all over the world. 

Let me give you an example of SPAH vs the Internet as it is today. I can run the "referring site" report on BlowsMeAway.com to see how people who come to my site found out about me - i.e., where the link was that they clicked to get to me. In the most recent reporting period, 62,769 clicks came from Adam Gussow's "Modern Blues Harmonica" forum - a popular harmonica discussion forum. That's about 10 times MORE than I get from Google. You know how many came from the SPAH web site in the same period? 153. That's where SPAH's web site is today - nowhere. Why? Because it doesn't add value other than to tell us where the next SPAH is. It doesn't give us a reason to go there. (I'm overstating to make a point here - significant efforts have been made over the last year to improve the SPAH web site.) The SPAH web site COULD be the center of SPAH, a FANTASTIC resource. 

Why, for example, does SPAH not have a web-based discussion forum? It should be THE forum of choice for harp players world wide.  The mail list form of information sharing of HARP-L is ARCHAIC - several generations old in terms of available technology for virtually bringing people together. Why doesn't SPAH have a major presence on Facebook? I got 8x the number of clicks to my site from my OWN Facebook page than I do from the SPAH website with all of its members. 

SPAH presumably has (or certainly can get) rights to the wonderful photos, videos, instructional materials and presentations, lecture notes, etc - from every SPAH convention. Think of the value of having an archive of those available online. Not just from the 6 sessions I attended, not from a single SPAH, but from EVERY SPAH convention?

SPAH has the ACTIVE participation of top level pro players from every genre. These are busy people who cannot afford to take the time to participate in a standard web forum format. But SPAH could publish interviews, have "Charlie's Tips" and "Stan's Stories" and a host of other great articles that no other harmonica-related site can compete with. 

There ARE other harmonica forums on the web. And they're gathering users. Each has its unique focus and set of features. But for general discussion SPAH should be the place. And it can be funded by advertising of vendors like me, who sorely need all the help we can get to reach a geographically diverse community.

Soapbox Off.



This archive was generated by a fusion of Pipermail 0.09 (Mailman edition) and MHonArc 2.6.8.