Wednesday 27th November marks a special day, today I celebrate eleven years of running the Flatmattersonline website!
In 2008 I said to myself let’s make a place where you can “document your riding, share it and naturally progress!”.
The original concept of starting Flatmattersonline pretty much runs true eleven years on. I wanted an independent place for Flatlander’s to be able to look at fresh content everyday, and help inspire their session that day. I thought if I am looking for someone else, than perhaps other people are too. Interestingly enough, when I started FM back in 2008, video platforms such as YouTube and Vimeo were pretty fresh so not a lot of people were using them and I was relying heavily on original content which eleven years on is something I am going back to and am more inspired by.
From the initial generic blogspot days, to a full website FM that has seen many changes over the past eleven years. I really do have to pinch myself when I think about how many posts and also how much time I must have spent putting content together for you the viewer at home.
Various stages of the site of the past 11 years:
– Posting almost every video out/ blogspot days
– Birth of the website, rebrand.
– Writing Original content
– Detailed contest repos
– Flatmatters exclusives
– Video reviews
– Top 5’s
– Old School Sunday’s
– Classic Mondays
– Throwback Thursday
– Must Watch edits
– Exclusive Interviews
– Year end awards
– Flatmatters How-to’s
– Flat Snitches
As the site grew, I heard a few viewers say that it should mean something to appear on Flatmattersonline, and in a way I kind of like that, and I kind of don’t. FM in my mind shouldn’t be elitist, it’s definitely for everyone. But at the same time, I can’t sit behind the computer all day posting, so something has to give. This is a tough part of juggling what goes past the “Firewall” as James White calls it.
Eleven years on Flatmattersonline is still an independent place for Flatlanders across the globe to visit daily. Via Google analytics it’s easy to see that not every one checks videos everyday, and I can see like 3-4 day cycle of which most of you check videos.
Since my earlier years putting together Totally Intense ‘zine I always enjoyed putting together content. And the part of FM I enjoy the most is gathering original content in whatever form that might come in.
If I can help educate the next generation of Flatlanders with my articles that isn’t a bad thing in my mind. As the natural quality of riding progresses, my motivation to keep going is more driven by trying to provide original content, and help up and coming riders which I have done over the years rather than just copy and paste edit after edit.
Time management is definitely the hardest part of running the site and perhaps the major thing I have improved, at least in my mind. For many years FM would take over five hours a day which affected my personal riding sessions a lot, now I’ve learnt to manage that and not rush content out so that I can spend time riding for myself.
So when you are at home asking why your edit is not online yet? Chances are 1) I haven’t seen it yet. 2) I’m at work or riding or 3) I’m saving it for the next day as I have already posted 4-5 videos.
The birth of the Must Watch edit.
When I think about it, the Must Watch edit was a natural progression of curating all this content over the past 11 years. There has to be a standout video along the way, trawling through thousands of videos.
July 3 2012 marked the birth of the Must Watch edit after a chat with Matthias Dandois the previous month. It was something to the affect of “I love the site Effraim, but I can’t be bothered to trawl through so many edits to get to the good stuff.” It was valuable and honest feedback, as many others may have felt the same but not said anything. I must have stewed on the idea for around a month and came up with the Must Watch edit idea, and that being almost like an award and something people would in time push their level to achieve. In my mind the Must Watch edit is reserved for those edits I rewind immediately, can you imagine how many edits I watch and have watched over 11 years?! The Must Watch edit is something that drew me to hit the rewind right away, in the beginning of the Must Watch I didn’t really write a lot, but as time progressed the descriptions of why the edit was a “Must Watch” started to be published and also it began to get harder to get that elusive tag as the concept grew.
“For anyone who is interested, The first “Must Watch” edit went to Viki Gomez “lost and found” by James Smith on July 3rd, 2012. The Must Watch is seven years old, crazy to think that!”
The Flatmattersonline Year end awards…
After the concept of the Must Watch edit started to gain momentum, I started to think about all these videos I describe everyday and the need to do something to recognise the work people put into flatland. But, not just rider of the year? I went back and forth with a few friends and the Flatmattersonline year end awards were born in 2013. Johann Chan stepped up to help on the graphics to share the news, and six years on the awards are still running. The 2019 awards will be coming up really soon…
From Flatmattersonline to Judging…
It’s also interesting to think about my role now as a curator/critic//rider, I feel curating Flatmattersonline and having a critical eye and knowledge on what’s current and also whats been done in the past in flatland has lead me to judging events worldwide. And this year specifically the honour of being headjudge at the Fise/UCI world series. On top of that, my work has been recognised by people such as my childhood hero, Pete Brandt who organised a fundraiser to get me to SF along with Fred Gates and James McGraw for the One Love jam earlier in the year and I am already booked in once again for January 2020 in SF/LA. The support for the site really does blow me away, many great memories that will never be forgotten. And I look forward to making more!
FM is a labour of love for me, that will no doubt take many swings and turns in the future. Who knows one day I might actually get round to a FM clothing brand. It’s only taken 11 years so far!!!
I could ramble on, but want to keep as short as possible. Thanks to everyone who has supported FM over the years, all the contributors over the years for which there are too many to name. Johann Chan for the new graphic make over of the site, Kurt Hohberger at BMX Union for all his help over the years, Simon Shorten who helped take all the content from blogspot to a full website and did all the early branding on the new site.
How long have you been checking out Flatmattersonline? And how did you find it? Word of mouth? Social media? Lets hear it in the comments section. Normal updates will resume tomorrow, today i’m taking a moment to enjoy and acknowledge this achievement.
Flatmattersonine / 11 Years Strong.