Warning - this is a bit long. If you don't have time / want to read it, here are the key points:
- how often does the Warner Robins group meet? If monthly maybe we could alternate between meeting in WR and the Atlanta area?
- PNW (Pacific NorthWest) Chapter and COSMOS (COlorado SMart OwnerS) are great examples. It started small, but was consistent in meeting and it grew organically
- building a relationship with Smart people at Smart Center Buckhead - they can help get the word out about events as well
- will take constant "campaigning" to make sure all Smarts are aware there is a club. I'll ask the local Mini group for pointers.
- anyone interested, make sure you're vocal on both SCoA and Smart USA Insider. Dealerships use USA Insider almost exclusively it seems.
- my contact info is email: briandewitt at gmail dot com phone: 314.226.1723
Now for the long part:
davidowen, how often are your meets/dining events in Warner Robins? It being 2 hours away from Atlanta, I figure that the Atlanta area smarts could head that way once a month or so. Or maybe we could alternate between the Atlanta area and Warner Robins? Of course we could every once in a while meet up elsewhere in Georgia for a themed/special drive (i.e., drive to see the leaves changing colors, historic Savannah run, etc). That type of event would be less frequent but would certainly be nice to do.
When I lived in Boulder, the COSMOS group would meet near the Smart Center once every month or so. Members/attendees came from all over Colorado. Not everyone could make it everytime, but more and more people started to attend. I believe their main form of organizing was smart USA insider
. The fact is that they just started having the events with consistency (like it sounds the Warner Robins group does) and kept at it.
Speaking with the people at the Smart Center in Buckhead, there seem to be a lot of owners that are very enthusiastic about their cars. Atlanta area being so big (in terms of geographic area consumed by the city proper and all of its surrounding 'burbs) it might be an issue of constant "campaigning" to make people aware. BUT the Smart Center would prove to be helpful. I'm building a report with the sales people and parts people (Alonzo and Paco are excellent there as is Mike the services guy and Sean [or is it Shawn], one of the salesmen). Maybe I can put it in their heads to mention to people when they come in for service, to chat, order parts, etc., to mention this or USA Insider (ideally both) to them.
Now my point regarding fragmentation. There are essentially two places that enthusiast discussions are happening: here on this forum and at Smart USA Insider. Now this creates a bit of an issue for some as there are only so many hours in the day. And the two sites are different but similar. SCoA is a forum first with a gallery feature. USA Insider is more of a social network feel. Lots of similarities on both sites but different presentation. With these similarities, I am certain that many people think "well I already do all of that at x so why should I do the same things a second time at y?"
Having said that, it will just take a little effort for GA Smarts that are on both SCoA and USA Insider to make sure they - when possible and when it makes sense - post to both. Example, I'm trying to make sure I upload all of my photos and video (or at least links to them) on both SCoA and Smart USA Insider.