The Grand Tour

DriveTribe 3 Months In: The Pros and Cons

When it was first announced that there would be a new automotive-focused social media site, i was ecstatic. I have no problem flooding my Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter feeds with all sorts of car related goodies, but anyone who is the lone gearhead within their friends and family knows that sooner rather than later, you are going to annoy everyone. Sure I don’t really care; they can just as easily block me or just scroll past, but wouldn’t it be nice to have a place where it’s just car fanatics?

When I heard that this new car focused social media would be created by Jeremy, James, and Richard, I pretty much decided that there could be no wrong associated with DriveTribe. It would be perfect, and any niggles we might run into, we would simply move past it and simply be happy that a space like this exists at all.

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We are now nearly three months into DriveTribe going live, and while it is essentially still in its infancy, there are a lot of things that DriveTribe does right, and a quite a few annoyances. Let’s take a look at what works and what doesn’t!

It’s all about cars and bikes! For now…

Basically if you have any interest in anything with an engine, then DriveTribe should be something you sign up for. Not only are there great communities for a wide range of automotive related topics, but each of the boys has a thriving Tribe which they participate in quite frequently. Nothing is off limits here; no one is going to give you grief about “always only talking about cars.” And now we have Jeremy, James, and Richard to back us up.

However, DriveTribe may expand beyond just cars. It’s a tall order, but Hammond recently stated that he would like to tackle other subjects like fashion, food, and music. I’m not super thrilled about that prospect, but I’ll reserve judgment for the time being. We’ll see.

Clean, Simple Interface

I participate heavily in Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I love all the options you have with those three networks, but the UIs for each are starting to get a bit crazy, reminding me almost of this:

Maybe I’m just getting old and getting cranky, but these interfaces are kind of an assault on the senses. There are menus and buttons everywhere, with options within options within options. Who knows, maybe in the near future DT will be the same way, but for now, I’m enjoying the lack of “action” whenever I log onto DT, and love how clean and simple everything is. There’s beauty in simplicity. However, on that note:

No Order To Timeline Posts

This has been bugging me since the inception of DT. If you look at some of the more active Tribes (like Richard’s or James’) you’ll notice that the posts on the timelines are not presented in chronological order (newest at top). I’ll be scrolling along when suddenly, halfway down the timeline, I see a post from earlier today, flanked by a bunch of posts from last week. It has happened time and time again: “Hey Tony, did you see Jeremy’s post from earlier today? It was hilarious?” Scroll, scroll, scroll, scroll….oh there it is. it might be a small complaint, but this non-order to the timeline bugs me way more than it should.

Some Confusion Between Photos and Links

Like the one above, this one isn’t a huge problem with me, but it does result in a few more double takes than I would like. Social media is all about the absorption of information as quickly as possible, and while DT does a pretty admirable job of it so far, the way links and individual photos are presented could use a bit more differentiation. As of right now, if I were to glance really quickly at my timeline, I would have a hard time telling which picture is simply a picture, or which one is a picture associated with an article/blog link. As I said before, it most certainly is not a huge deal, but I wouldn’t mind seeing the two look a bit more different from each other.

The Studio Is Brilliant

I’m a data sort of guy, and nothing makes me feel more warm and fuzzy than charts and graphs. For instance, I have been collecting comic books since I was a kid. I don’t actually read all that many of them, but I buy them, log them, then stash them away in a box. I have a spreadsheet with all the information that I’ll need on all my issues, and just looking at the spreadsheet makes me super happy. I know, I’m weird.

The Studio page on DriveTribe is exactly such a thing; it is a log of all your activity on DT. It shows your posts, your engagement with other users, a calendar of when your posts were made, and every Bump and Comment you have ever made. There’s a even a handy dandy chat button at the bottom for support. It’s quite interesting to see what your most popular posts were.

Your Individual Profile Is a Bit…Bleh

I know earlier I was saying how much I liked the simplicity of DT’s UI, but a part of me wishes our profiles had a bit more “oomph” to them. As of now, my profile is just a profile picture, a short bio, some stats on who I’m following and who’s following me, my Tribes, and my timeline. If there was any one area where I wouldn’t mind them going beyond the simplicity of the rest of the site, it would be the profile page.

I’m not saying go nuts, but a photo gallery, maybe custom page backgrounds would be nice. A few simple additions can go a long way towards making each profile page feel unique. There’s no need to do what Myspace did back in the day (my goodness some of those pages were GAUDY), but I wouldn’t turn down the chance to inject a bit more life into my profile.

It Brings the World Together

I know at its core, social media is all about connections, and for the most part all these different networks make it easy to connect to a worldwide user base. But that’s not really how it works, does it? You end up with a feed that’s basically populated with stuff from people you already know. Twitter is probably the one with the best worldwide reach, but for me personally, my Facebook and IG are all just stalker feeds of my friends and family.

There’s something about DriveTribe that feels so “global.” On any one of my posts, I can see Bumps and comments from all sorts of people all around the world. Regardless of culture, religion or whatever, we’re all united by a common love of the automobile, and DT is the perfect outlet for us to just talk about cars and bikes. DT just doesn’t feel as regional ass my other social networks, and for once, I don’t mind a bunch of strangers from around the world looking at my stuff.

So let’s hear it from you guys! What do you think of DriveTribe at this point in time? What would you improve if it were up to you? Let us know in the comments and on our Facebook page!

Tony Hsieh

Cars, the Buffalo Bills, video games, comics, sandwiches, jelly beans, and the shooting star press; these are the things that Tony loves (in addition to his family, of course). When he's not spending his time writing tech reviews for, Tony puts his lifetime love of muscle cars to use on his 2015 Mustang GT. Tony's top three favorite cars are the 1973 Mustang Mach 1, Ferrari 458, and Aston Martin DBS.

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