Would An RVer Be Able To Find Enough Information If Social Media Disappeared?
In light of the longest outage ever recently experienced by Facebook, which included Instagram and WhatsApp outages, I mentally turned the clock back a few years and tried to imagine how today’s RVer would manage without social media. Full disclosure: I use social media every day and RV LIFE uses a multitude of social media platforms, just like every other company. Unlike most other companies, however, RV LIFE has established alternatives to social media that are visited by millions of RVers every year.
Where would an RVer go during an outage?
While that sounds like a weather-related question better suited to your local news channel, for an RVer, the question pertains to the vital knowledge-gathering you need throughout your progression from new to veteran RVer. If you, the RVer, had an important question and found that the social media platforms you favor were unavailable, where would you go?
If you are relying on social media exclusively for your RVing knowledge, you are making a mistake. Not necessarily due to the risk of outage … that risk holds for nearly anything. Rather, the risks of relying exclusively on social media for your RV education are multifaceted. Here are a few to consider.
Unlike other forms of information, such as forums, blog sites, or formal classes, social media is more of a see-it-now, read-it-now platform. Locating information even just a few days old can be a challenge and the information is not formally organized. Finding critical information when you need it most can be difficult at best.
There’s an old expression about opinions that we won’t necessarily repeat here but it closes with “… everybody has one.” Opinions validated with detailed facts and explanations are one thing; irrelevant opinions tossed around with no supporting facts have no value. Nor can you determine if that opinion is supported by experience or not. Unfortunately, social media is often a breeding ground for this type of feedback.
Censorship is a scary word, and valid opinions and information should not be censored. Unfortunately, the word “valid” is fairly subjective. Social media has a tendency to censor whatever it deems offensive, not what common sense would dictate. So comments rudely reminding you to “read the manual,” or being told “only an idiot would do that,” are often allowed, disheartening the new RVer. While political and social comments that shouldn’t be there at all are left alone, uncensored in the interest of “fairness.”
Lack of knowledge
The most concerning aspect of social media might very well be the lack of in-depth knowledge. Even when a knowledgeable answer is presented, the context is not always clear or available. A smart comment about a particular electrical issue might be factually correct, however, may have no real relation to the original problem. Readers may associate the thread’s “hero” image directly to the comment they are reading and draw an incorrect conclusion.
Answers that sound like right answers, might not be correct at all. This is especially concerning. An RVer who says a surge protector is totally unnecessary might say so because their expensive motor coach has one built in. A new RVer might not only be dissuaded to buy that much-needed surge protector, but might incorrectly assume they already have one built in as well.
Social media alternatives for RVers
There are a few alternatives to social media for RVers. Gaining all important knowledge for proper ownership and operation of their new RV is vital to every RVer. Here are a few social-media alternatives to consider.
Forums for RVers predate social media; they’re the OG. Top RV forums like iRV2.com and AirForums.com provide all the benefits of community without the aforementioned issues of social media. Forums also have a dedicated moderation team to make sure conversations stay on track and pertain to their particular thread. They also ensure that hateful, political, and social opinions and conversation are kept in check and eliminated.
Another huge benefit of forums is that the number of posts that an RVer has made is part of their visible profile. So, when an answer is provided by someone who has posted over 23,000 times, you can have some assurance that it’s a quality recommendation.
Blog sites can also be referred to as a digital magazine. Like the printed periodicals of old, blog sites provide the same informative information on a more frequent basis, daily in some cases. Sites like Camper Report, Camper Smarts, Do It Yourself RV, RV LIFE, and Vanlifers all provide valuable data for the RVer to digest.
Some might argue that YouTube is still social media and they might be right. The difference is that with YouTube, you are able to discern with your eyes the full breadth of information being provided so you can make a better decision. You also have the luxury of weighing the number of subscribers and number of video views with that decision. A video seen over 28k times can stand on its own merit as being worthy information to consider.
While print is not as strong as in years past, there is still room in the RVer’s repertoire for a book. Books favored by RVers such as Living the RV Life or RV Hacks 400+ Ways to Make Life on the Road Easier, Safer, and More Fun! are a great source of knowledge for any RVer.
Is all of social media bad? No, of course not. Like anything, it should be filtered and monitored carefully. It should not, however, be your first recourse. Why ask a handful of jaded RVers what their favorite campground is on Facebook, when you could read thousands of thoughtful reviews about those campgrounds on RV LIFE Campgrounds? Similarly, why ask a bunch of folks you don’t know how to find a safe RV route, versus using an affordable trip planning tool like RV LIFE Trip Wizard?
As long as you apply a liberal dose of wariness and common sense, social media is a fine 3rd or 4th option to supplement your RVer knowledge.