Hello, F3 PAX.
If the team in comz has done its role well, you’ve probably never heard of nation IT or comz (or if you have, it may have been the now-defunct [email protected] email address).
Our history in the areas of technology and communications has been one of evolution. As Dredd often states, we build 43 feet ahead of the road being traveled on. We’ve gone from email-only backblasts to various site versions to regions using social media and tools like Slack, Zapier, G Suite and more to coordinate amongst their pax.
For the first six years of our evolution, both “nation-wide” blog posts and pages have lived right alongside posts from Charlotte, Dallas, Raleigh, Columbia, Lehigh Valley, Atlanta, and more. It’s all been in one place, managed centrally for the benefit of all.
Six-plus years in, we’re now ready for yet another evolution.
I’ve let our co-founders and board, the regional nantans, and IT Qs know this summer we are retiring much of the local/regional functionality from the nation site, such as pre-blasts and backblasts, and returning “control” of that back to the regions.
This specifically means regions will formally have the freedom and flexibility to communicate locally in whatever ways best suit their PAX, and the nation site will return to more of a place for topics like our growing map and functionality, exercises database, lexicon updates, F3 groups in the news, new gear, Dredd blog posts, F3F, and more.
What Changed The Thinking?
First, we’ve learned over years of data that the overwhelming majority of site traffic is to what we call static pages… places like “exercises,” “about us,” “locations” aka the map, etc., and yet the overwhelming amount of custom PAX and IT requests revolve around change on local backblasts, PAX permissions, and workout location tags.
The scale of regional updates and asks was not the main issue. Sure, we are and were busy. But the subtle differences in the asks versus desire to customize at a local level showed us we were holding back the creativity of regions who were ready to push the envelope of what we could do in our service to the greater collection of regions. In short, I/we can not scale as well as others could in making the creativity work.
Second, because many men in our regions now have more technological knowledge than we even did collectively a couple years ago, we feel now more than ever there’s a unique opportunity to see more examples of the reverse-flow incubator in effect.
So your local IT Qs and Nantans will be now free to choose technologies other than WordPress if they want, like a social network, or to allow for image uploads but monitor themselves. They can use more custom forms, put their own scheduling software to use, etc. etc.
Ok, So What Will F3Nation.com and the Nation Comz Guy(s) Now Do?
Well, as noted the nation site will return to more of a place for topics like our growing map and functionality, exercises database, lexicon updates, F3 groups in the news, new gear, Dredd blog posts, F3F, and more.
Here are some other ideas we’re working on…
- Nation site will no longer serve region backblasts, so we’ll need to archive these and give them to the regions that want them, too.
- The nation site will have a nation-level news/blog. For example, Dredd will have a place for his #truthnuggets, OBT and Robber can announce new gear/things like GrowRuck, the LEAP team and Crotch Rocket can chat expansion, I can put out marketing or media info, etc.
- The nation site will no longer have the same concept of “registered users.” Our blog posts will have comments, yes, but you’ll probably do so through something other than registering (TBD, we have a couple options we’re finalizing).
- We’ll still offer email for regions
- Maps, Exercises, Lexicon, other global pages remain and will get more attention.
- We will still link to regions/locations
- We’ll share what’s working in other areas or good media coverage that can help you in your area.
- We’ll focus more on our F3 Podcast, which has its primer series going now and will be on its release schedule soon.
- Maps, which is now a more critical component than ever, will get attention and a possible overhaul.
We are setting July 15 as a date where we’re targeting turning off the ability for regions to post directly to F3nation.com. Many of the regions have already started moving, as noted earlier the IT Qs in each region have had this information for some time.
And what about (my question)?
Lastly, if you’re into what drives digital marketing and sites, you may have a few questions not answered here.
Maybe you want to know things like how smaller regions or expansion will work with backblasts (in progress but not fully decided) or if the major drop in page-views aka clicks will matter (nope, we are not in the ad business).
In the end, we don’t have all the answers but trust the PAX will rise to both ask and answer. Such is the beauty of the starfish.
(Any questions, hit me in the comments.)
How will this decision affect the F3 App?
@Wilson_RVA – the F3 app is separate than the site and maintained by a very talented developer in the Swamp Rabbit region who goes by Alfred. He’s able to change the feed that each region receives for its news on a region-by-region basis, so whoever is your IT Q can coordinate with Alfred on that.
AP, close your eyes and pretend that I’m a Cromagon and don’t know squat about web sites but I’m also the Comz for Hickory region. Ok, now open your eyes and don’t pretend anymore, because all of the above is true. I have no idea what this means for me and our region. Does this mean that we will be in charge of maintaining a more local site (f3hickory.com??) or something like that? I am seriously without clue on this.
@CousinEddie — what it mostly means is that you have a choice now in how you do your backblasts and sharing of info rather than using something I or the site defines for you. So if you want to do f3hickory.com, do that. If you want to use an app like Slack to be your region’s home comz platform, do that. If you prefer Facebook or BAND or any other app, you can do that. Ping me at [email protected] or in the F3 Slack if you want more details, we’ve done our best to communicate this across all the Nantan and Comz channels before this post but may have missed you. I can send you more detail.
Will it be possible to get a sub domain for the region?
@The Dab, yep. Just need to know destination for CNAME entry.
@AP will the gist of the WordPress “plumbing” be made available for Regions that want to spin off their own subdomain WordPress site? So that way they can keep what’s working?
@Beast, unsure what you mean by plumbing but in the F3 nation slack group I put a list of plug-ins and other tidbits in the new site channel. If you’re not in there, hit me up at ap at f3nation.com and I’ll add you.
First, I’ve always loved reading Backblasts from different regions. For ideas mainly, but also when traveling so I can decide where to post. How will we find this info going forward if everyone uses different formats for communicating?
And second, in Raleigh, there’s already been a drastic drop-off in the actual posting of Backblasts. More and more, it’s becoming small text groups. More exclusive. Less inclusive. So, how will this switch, to more separate groups, help F3 come back together?
1) the same way you likely did before, given what our data shows. That is, specifically, social media. The average backblast is read less than 20 times, usually much less. Some get 2-3 views. But the ones that the F3 twitter account shares get sometimes 1000. Believe it or not, just tagging and sharing generates MUCH more traffic than the site itself.
2) yep. That’s actually one of the main drivers. If you make it easier and more social, more people will participate. The web is inherently social but the site is not. My question back to you is what will work in Raleigh? Some groups already had their own sites. Some already use Facebook groups, others use Slack. The more we can get local guys to communicate, the more the nation will get the good stuff to share. Nothing will be trapped unless you want it to be. Get involved with the local effort, make it happen Shaggy!
Um. I’m involved. I’ve written our IT dudes separately. We’ll come up with a plan.
Also, thanks for all your work to make this current site what it is. I’ve been impressed from day one.
No offense dude. I talk to 100s of HIM a month. Thanks for all you’re doing!
How can I get on the Slack site? To get access to the plug-ins and other content.
AP – thanks for all you do to build the virtual footprint. I know it’s a ton of effort away from your day job and family. #impactful #valuable #appreciated
u da man
Aye @The Dab and @Shaggy or anyone who’s helping in their regions with this, hit me up at ap @ f3nation .com for Slack invites
@Blackjack talk about a man who has had impact, same to you brother for all you give
Lots of HIM here. Lots of strong opinions but that’s great — people care. Love it, just making sure all understand it’s from a good place
Will there be any provision to export old data and/or user profiles for import into a new, localized site?
Yes, absolutely. If you’re in Slack, hit me up there. Or email me with your region-specific needs.
Well, it was nice while it lasted. But, I figure we’ll be moving back to a unified site in 2-3 years.
Once each region has a chance to take the F3 brand in a hundred different directions, with new F3 logos (already out there) and region specific lexicon (check), it will be difficult to bring F3 back under one roof. But, The Y (formerly the YMCA) went through it just a few years ago. So, it can be done.
Until then, thanks for giving so much. I truly love what you built, in a unified F3 Nation site.
It will be missed.
Don’t like it a bit. As a Mustard Seed we’re more like a cut-off starfish leg, rather than the body missing a leg that will grow back. I.e. we’re feeling a little more like we’re cut off rather than connected. So, I don’t like it…BUT no biggy because I don’t like most change. Yet, I know it will be a catalyst which brings about growth. If nowhere else, at least in the area of IT and Comz. (Loved the centrality of the F3 app and the way it kept us connected to other regions. Mustard Seeds benefit greatly from knowing they’re a part of something much bigger.)
@chappie, this actually will give the very few men who are centrally trying to make things better for growing areas the time to make sure you don’t feel cut off. Change is hard, I hear you and I’m not trying to belittle your thoughts. We did think through this a TON, invited a lot of feedback, modified a few things, and committed. No one is feeling the change more than me right now, but I feel strong about that growth you mentioned. I also can hope, like others as well, you’ll have the patience with me and others to see how this works out. Each time we’ve hit a milestone in our growth we’ve had to overcome something unexpected. Thanks for all you and the men of F3 do for all of us. Aye!
I travel extensively. This was my way to know where to post. As stated, now everyone will use different modes of social media to connect so twitter is not one reliable source any longer. I had an AO 2 miles from my house. Because it was a different sub region and they used slack, I did not know they were there. I am now posting to Meca and LKN. Two different sites and social media platforms. Gentleman, this will splinter what was a united nation. Why?
Hey Firestone! You might try downloading the F3 app. The AO search tool on there is solid. Might do the trick?
@Firestone, these trends were happening regardless of the “main” website. Thankfully, all regions understand the value of what you’re saying and agree we still need a single map. https://f3nation.com/where-is-f3/ will continue to have locations.