Sidepodcast // All for F1 and F1 for all

Chopping and changing // Pondering the future direction of F1 conversation on Sidepodcast

Published by Christine

Sidepodcast's mission statement currently reads: To create, maintain, and further conversation about Formula 1. This is something we've been quite passionate about, giving fans the space to discuss their thoughts about the sport.

Somewhere along the way, we diverged from that path and started fostering a fantastic community of people who all had a lot of things to say on other topics. We've covered all manner of great things, including shuttle launches, the Eurovision song contest and even the World Cup. Oh, and lots of F1 stuff as well.

When Sidepodcast began, it was very difficult to find and converse with like-minded F1 fans, and thus the community grew, and the daily posts took on a life of their own. These days, talking about F1 is as easy as opening up your browser, and that means here at Sidepodcast, our horizons need to change.

On the horizon

We're starting to struggle to keep up with existing commitments, whilst pushing new boundaries, and it's time to shake things up a bit to free up time and resources for new and future projects. After spending a good deal of time discussing how the site works, and where we see it going in the future, we've concluded that our biggest time sink is overseeing daily posts and the non-F1 conversation that occurs within them. Whilst we have always, and still do, want to foster a sense of community with visitors to the site, the time spent on administration is too great.

Equally, it's become clear that the hub of conversation is no longer the daily posts, with more interaction occurring on social sites, such as Twitter and Facebook. We always try to adapt to the changing circumstances, it's not our intention to compete with such heavyweight social networks.

There's been a significant drop-off in the number of comments on a daily post of late, roughly 75% less per day than their peak. There are many reasons for this, some of which we're aware of, some I'm sure we're not, but all would indicate that conversations are more distributed these days.

Tearing up the form book

After thinking such heavy thoughts, we came up with a proposal. The first part is to decommission the daily posts. They have all been fantastic and I can't begin to state my appreciation and love for everyone who has written for us, but their time in the spotlight is dwindling. For those regular authors who still want to maintain their presence on the site, we believe that regular columns, likely closely resembling the existing daily post schedule, would serve them as writers, and you as readers, far better.

Rather than a catch-all daily post, we want to encourage more focused threads for specific conversations - that is not to say we want to go back to only talking about F1. Indycar, Sidepodfilmclub and Eurovision are all still very welcome. However off-topic and general miscellaneous chatter is far better suited to the social tools provided by Zuckerberg and friends.

Bringing Sidepodcast back to a core conversation allows for more creativity and collaboration. We certainly don't want to stop the fun that the Sidepodcommunity brings, but giving it a little bit of focus should not be a bad thing.

There's no timescale for these plans as yet, we are looking to the future, and as ever, being transparent about our thought processes as we do. I understand that it's quite a big shift for the site, and will never be unanimously popular, but we want to move forward and try new things. We want to look at what comes next, rather than try and prop up an outdated concept.