Lately, I haven’t been very active on forums, focusing most of my watch community activities on Instagram – where you can find me as @mikethewis.
What chased me out of forums was the fair share of drama on every one of them. The more people get used to each other, the more drama ultimately appears. Frankly, I was fed up with it.
I love sharing my horological thoughts and musings with others. I love to help others learn something, and in turn, I like to learn from others. However, at some point, it became a liability.
Another community? Sure!
I have a good pen pal from one of the forums who left earlier than I did for similar reasons. Both of us, and a number of other “forum refugees,” communicate regularly, but to be honest, we missed a place that was just about the hobby.
So, when my buddy told me that he and most of the rest joined WatchCrunch, I also joined. I missed being part of a community for a long time.
What about Instagram?
Of course, there’s a WIS community on Instagram. I made some friends there, found some old acquaintances, and got in touch with them again.
Instagram, however, lacks substance. Scroll, scroll, like, like. Sure, it’s fun to look at dozens of watch pics, but the format makes it impossible to have a serious discussion.
In comparison, WatchCrunch is way more encouraging to interact.
What is WatchCrunch like (technically)?
It’s like a cross between Instagram and forums. Much like Insta, it groups posts by hashtags rather than theme sub-forums. The interface takes some getting used to.
Then again, what is complicated to one person may be obvious to another. As I’m used to Insta and various forums, it wasn’t as easy for me to get used to WatchCrunch at first, but once I got the hang of it, it was easy to navigate.
It’s not a dumb-scrolling app, nor is it a forum with a highly technical layout. Basically, it blends some characteristics of both, and I find that cool.
So far, WatchCrunch has been a friendly place. The format and the atmosphere seem to keep people focused on the hobby. There’s no drama, at least none that I can see. It’s quite a relief, to be honest.
It’s fair to say that the community in most forums isn’t always kind to watch media – not that some channels or blogs don’t deserve it sometimes. Watch writers have created some bad blood here and there so at times I was hesitant to say that I write for a watch blog.
I’m happy to say that I didn’t have the slightest problem with doing that at WatchCrunch, as the atmosphere of the community is fine with watch bloggers and YouTubers. WatchCrunch gets another “thumbs up” for being friendly and welcoming.
The folks here seem more interested in constructive discussions than butting heads or dredging up stuff from what I call the dark side of the hobby.
So, the atmosphere there attracts more decent WIS. And I’m delighted that’s the way it is.
Would I change anything about it?
Not much, if anything at all. The character limit per post is the only issue that bothers me. On one side, it keeps things concise – well, not the Twitter concise, but not novel-lengthy either.
It’s my nature to write lengthy posts and I often use many images for reference. However, an image takes up several characters from the limit. So, that’s a bit of a snag. Especially when images and stories matter equally, and I feel like I have to do one at the cost of the other.
However, I imagine that it’s not a problem for most people. Many on the forums have wondered why on earth I write essays rather than posts. Therefore, I imagine very few people – if any – would have the same problem as I do. Anyway, that’s just me nitpicking on something. Those who have read my writing before know that’s just me being me.
I think a mobile app would be a good next step for WatchCrunch in the future. Currently, the site works well on mobile browsers. However, an app for iOS and Android would vastly improve the already quite decent mobile website experience.
WatchCrunch as an app would be awesome, at least for me. An interface dedicated to smartphones is the logical next thing to do here.
All in all…
WatchCrunch is an excellent platform for me. It’s lively, and it has a dynamic atmosphere. It isn’t as fray as forums can be, and people don’t view content in the same Pavlovian manner they do on Instagram. It’s a good middle ground between a forum and social media. The WatchCrunch team has done and is doing a great job so far.
It’s a place I intend to stay. You can find me as MrBloke.