He wrote recently in a comment that participation in the community - online or otherwise - improves lives. That is also my belief. Brian can write - he gets right to the core of an issue with the ability to craft an honest story. Take a look at what he writes to introduce himself on LinkedIn:
You do what you need to do in order to keep moving forward. If that means you leave a stable service technician position in the Midwest to attend school in Phoenix and proceed to get laid off from half a dozen tech sector giants, then you find another industry in which to work. You see things through and you make a point of wasting neither your time nor the time of others.
Decided to make a go of working in the automotive industry about a year before the economy tanked thanks to failing automakers. I find that working on electronics again reminds me of just how much I loved being in the tech sector ten years ago.
He's been a valuable member of this community and I wanted to take a moment to introduce him to you.
Why are you online?
Brian: Originally, to learn about my car - to make it faster, to fix it when things broke. In the process, I made a number of friends, several of which I now consider family. Through countless conversations on 2GNT.com about cars, I not only gained knowledge about my car, but came to understand concepts and theories which I've been able to apply to life outside the garage.
Furthermore, consistent reinforcement that, if I put my mind to doing something with a car, I will ultimately succeed, has given me a degree of confidence that maybe, just maybe, I might know what I'm talking about once in a while.
What prompted you to read and comment at Conversation Agent?
Brian: About a year ago, recognizing (and firmly believing) that participation in online communities empowered people to live better lives, I started wondering if there might be something on the web outside the forum where I spent most of my time.
I still can't recall who mentioned this site, but I remember feeling that what I was reading ("You've Got Comments") was genuine and it was one of those moments when someone else said exactly what I was thinking at the time.
I don't have much marketing or PR background, but the concept of connecting people and ideas through conversation is exactly what I found to be at the core of why participation in online car communities was capable of making such a difference in the lives of those who viewed themselves part of a community.
I don't feel I can speak much to specific business issues with which I have no experience, but there are plenty of opportunities to discuss connecting people and ideas.
What are you working on that you feel will connect ideas and people?
Brian: The last couple weeks have felt much like Christmas to me. I'm in the final stages of rolling out GearboxMagazine.com. As a Mitsubishi owner since 1996, I'm going to share stories of other Mitsubishi enthusiasts who share my passion for the brand. I hope to instill a sense that enthusiasts matter in the overall automotive industry.
Beyond that, by staying platform blind, I'd like to generate exposure to the ideas of others who enjoy their Mitsubishis in different ways (ex: drag racers interacting with off-roaders), highlighting similarities and hopefully realizing new ideas. Ultimately, if Mitsubishi themselves took notice and began to participate in the conversation with us, I would consider it the greatest accomplishment possible in the life of a gear head like myself.
What's more, I think I've got this all set up in such a way that makes it possible for others to jump on board and do the same for the brands about which they are passionate too. It's focused, it's scalable, and it's literally kept me from sleep lately.
Who would you like to connect with?
Brian: People who are passionate about the power of online communities to enrich and empower lives. People who revel in sharing stories and information, without focus on monetizing or marketing. Not that I have anything against those who have such priorities, but there is nothing so appealing as genuinely fresh content and ideas being discussed by real people simply because they can.
Well, maybe the sound of a 1991 Mitsubishi Galant VR4 rally car flying past on a dirt road at about 100mph, but that's the gear head talking.
Automotive enthusiasts not currently using the web to further legacy business plans. I already know plenty of people representing well-known organizations in the social space - and they're great - but I'd like to meet people just getting their feet wet in social media as a gear head. If they recognize the value in participation online and genuinely enjoy using their experience to help others solve problems, all the better! (And super bonus points if these people are into A) Mitsubishi B) rally racing or C) both.)