You Have Been Poked by Jim Thiel

"So what are you doing this Friday?" my father asked, trying to elicit information I could tell he already knew.

"Hmmm. Oh, I'm playing a gig." I responded, calmly.

"I know."

Ha! I knew he knew.

He continued, "Why didn't you invite me?" (He was referring to me not sending him a Facebook invitation for my gig, which I did send to more than 120 others.)

"Because you are not in New York, so it seemed illogical." (He's in Birmingham, Alabama.)

"Well don't worry. I don't go to things I'm not invited to."

This tiff divulged into a two-day feud between my father, the rest of my family, and me. I didn't talk to him for a couple of days. He didn't call me. No punches were thrown, but it all made me very angry. To think, Facebook—Facebook!—caused a serious argument between my father and me: something that has actually never happened before. We're usually pretty chill.

I have always looked at social networks like Facebook and MySpace in a favorable light, seeing them as the great unifier rather than the great divider. I think my father's case is an exception, mostly because he is not used to the social rules of Facebook. For example, he "poked" me the other day. Now Dad, that's just weird, but it's cool. You don't really know what you're doing.

It's safe to say that these social networking sites are really made for and by Late Gen Y'ers and Gen Zs, the children of the digital age.

Being a part of this digital generation and in the hi-fi industry, I received a magical email that read: Thiel Loudspeakers is on Facebook. I let off a loud scoff and yelped to Stephen, "Check this out," and forwarded him the email.

I first mocked the site, as any child of the digital age should (a company trying to enter my social space? How dare they?), but after I saw the site, it made me happy. They actually had fans! (More fans than my Facebook music page …hold back the jealousy, hold it back…) It made me excited and joyful and hopeful. There are other young people out there, also into hi-fi, and into Thiel speakers. That's pretty darn cool.

Stephen and I often talk about how to best get young kids into hi-fi, and I think Thiel is on the right track. While nobody would really find the page unless they were looking for it, the site creates a resource of information, and a place of discourse about the product. Thiel customer service manager Gary Dayton makes regular blog posts, members post pictures of their Thiel speakers, and users interact through their love of the product. Some "fans" are young, some older, but all seem to share a passion for music and hi-fi, something that transcends age.

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Comments
AlexO's picture

I thought there was going to be some sort of a story attached to this. How does this tie in with your dad getting po'ed at you for facebook?

So, Thiel has a page on Facebook, big whoopee do. What am I missing here??? I feel like everyone is in on some kind of an even except me.

Am I getting old? Is this the first sign of aging?

Ariel Bitran's picture

How does this tie in with your dad getting po'ed at you for facebook?My dad got angry at me for not inviting him to an event not understanding that that does necessarily mean I disregard him as a friend or father, something he had trouble understanding since he didn't understand that facebook invites can be specific. Although people in older generations are not used to facebook and its social norms, there are still ways that both old and young can connect on the internet, as Thiel has created with their page.I feel like everyone is in on some kind of an even except me. As far as I know, Thiel is the only hi-fi company with a facebook page. I've also seen user-initiated Grado groups.

AlexO's picture

What I meant is: how does your dad getting upset with you have anything to do with Thiel being on facebook?

Even if Thiel is the only hi-fi company on Facebook, there are enough on MySpace, so it's not like Thiel is being revolutionary by embracing a social networking site.

I feel like there's either something that I'm not getting here, or this is simply much ado about nothing.

Ariel Bitran's picture

What I meant is: how does your dad getting upset with you have anything to do with Thiel being on facebook?its an anecdote. relax. I'm telling a story. Do you want specifications on my father's anger? Plus, I already explained in the previous comment how it relates, but I shall try again:The connection between the story about my father and Thiel is not one about audio, but one about the ability for people to connect on the internet through hi-fi, a common language. Social norms about facebook are still not entirely understood by older generations. Even SM will ask me questions about what the heck its all about. People of different ages have been able to connect through their love of Thiel speakers. something which breaks the boundaries caused by the lack of familiarity with the unspoken norms of social technology.

Ariel Bitran's picture

Even if Thiel is the only hi-fi company on Facebook, there are enough on MySpace, so it's not like Thiel is being revolutionary by embracing a social networking site.Hi-fi companies are on Myspace? where? I'm not being snarky. I really want to know, so I can friend 'em.

Doug Bowker's picture

"Am I getting old? Is this the first sign of aging?" I think you have shown signs of getting old for a while Alex! ;) You don't find it disturbing your favorite forum posters are DUP and Ethan, two boomers who cultivate being old grouches? The point was that Thiel care AT ALL about young MySpacers. That IS interesting- not revolutionary perhaps, but a hopeful sign none the less. I like the little mini story about Ariel's Dad BTW.

AlexO's picture

Sorry, folks, but as much as I enjoy these blogs, this particular one seems to be a bit labored. The connections are dubious and the excitement or newsworthiness of the events are rather strained. Thiel putting up a presence on Facebook is the equivalent of Columbus discovering America... in the 21st century.

Rob's picture

Hi Ariel,B&W has a large and active supporter's group on Facebook.Find it here: http://tinyurl.com/6n8uf5

Ariel Bitran's picture

Doug. Thank you for the kindness. The connections are dubious and the excitement or newsworthiness of the events are rather strained.AlexO: i'm sorry that this post couldn't appeal to you, but I think that could be a product of the fact that you're not a member of any of these online social networking sites. I was excited, because I'm a part of it. you're not, thus it means nothing to you.Thiel putting up a presence on Facebook is the equivalent of Columbus discovering America... in the 21st century.again, can you can give me another example(s) of a hi-fi fan site either on MySpace on facebook that is **company** initiated like the Thiel site? Until then, my argument that Thiel's move was a step forward stands.the link that Rob provided is a facebook group, user-initiated, and while just as strong, it does not establish direct communication between the company and the fans.

AlexO's picture

Hi Ariel,I'm on Facebook as well as on MySpace, and I've been a member of both sites for quite some time.

As far as providing a manufacturer's presence, I don't have the time or the patience to search for each hi-fi manufacturer on these sites, I do remember seeing them though.

However, even assuming that Thiel is the first company to embrace a social networking site, they're so late to the game as to make it the equivalent of Jackie Collins all of a sudden discovering Amazon.com

Sorry dude, but this is much ado about nothing.

Ariel Bitran's picture

Hi AlexO, I thought you were not involved with either social networking site, when you said:What am I missing here??? I feel like everyone is in on some kind of an even except me.I'm sorry my assumption was wrong.even assuming that Thiel is the first company to embrace a social networking site, they're so late to the game.../i>The game is just starting! I don't think we're prepared for the type of interaction that we'll start to see between the company and the consumer. Facebook actually just started their "fan" pages about 6 months ago, so I would call Thiel an "early adopter" rather than 'late to the game.' Putting an official company presence out there for direct communication between the consumer and the brand removes the line between the corporate entity and the consumer creating a level playing field for communication promising personal relationships to the brand vs the old model of just pushing ads onto peo

1941's picture

Alex0, here is a great social networking cite that you might enjoy. Nothing labored here, just some great content.www.lemonparty.org

wands's picture

Just got these today and was a bit skeptical as no one seems to be able to get a good ear-bud style headphone into the market. Bose seem to have set the bar.These things sound great and are soooooo comfortable once you get them in your ears. Case is really cool looking and functional as well and the buds are sleek looking.Overall, very pleased and happy i finally found a great replacement to Apple's ear-buds.

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