By February 21, 2007

GIMPing along

I kicked off the Geeks In Moderate Preparedness topic and companion forum about four months ago. Like all things new, there was an initial rush of activity, with people registering for GIMPs (almost twenty at this point) and checking the forums a few times a day. The (important) rudimentary questions were asked, ruminated upon, and opinions given. Bug out bags, food and water storage, and basic emergency devices were covered. The mini-community slowed down through the holidays, which I anticipated. People are too busy wondering how they would survive a visit from their relatives to wonder about a disaster that may never happen.

Almost three months into the new year, there are only four of us who post to the GIMPs forum with any frequency. That’s about a fifth of our community. I am not sure what population of the group reads the forum at all, or on a regular basis. As far as I can tell, we’re coasting, and coasting slowly, at that.

I was going to post this on the GIMPs forum, but given the traffic I figured I’d get more response here on Gibberish. I’ve been kicking around ideas to drive not only participation, but membership. Most of my ideas center around helping people learn about preparedness, a guided tour to the topic if you will. Right now, everyone is thrown into a (very large) pool of knowledge and questions with the hopes they can keep their head above water. Survival and preparedness is such a deep and wide topic that it is easy to become intimidated by it.

Here are my ideas of late:

  • Web-based presentations and Q&A periods. I’d lead most (if not all) of the sessions, going over topics from, “how do I start?” to “how do I put together something more specific?”
  • More GIMPs-related product reviews. Upping the presence of GIMPs-related material on Gibberish might persuade a few of my regular readers to join the community to get more information. It would also serve as a poor-man’s signal that something new might be on the forum.
  • Hold clinics/workshops in meatspace. This was my original idea for GIMPs, but proved to be a logistical conundrum. Most of my friends aren’t too close to each other, and our families even less so. Workshops would probably up the interest of folks close to me geographically, but that is a small portion of an already small community.
  • Put together more group buys. We can achieve economies of scale, even with our small-sized group. We’ve already had one successful group buy for emergency bivvies, with another one underway for N95-class respirators. I don’t think this would draw new members, but might keep current ones interested.
  • Email digests for the forum traffic. I think a current problem is that with posts coming up in spurts, people don’t check the forum every day. It would be sweet if people could sign up to receive links or summaries of topics discussed that day, week, etc. Unfortunately, my current forum software (while free) doesn’t allow for easy email digesting of content.
  • Freeze the forum and roll future posts into Gibberish entries. The discussions are mostly one- or two-way anyway right now, so the topics are easily “bloggable.” The downside is that those posts will be indexed by Google, et. al, and may draw the types of people we were looking to avoid: fanatics, separatists, etc. I belong to another forum that has more “the end of the world as we know it” stuff, and I’d prefer to keep GIMPs about moderate preparedness.

But I guess the hard question to ask is: is any of this even worth it? I enjoy passing what I learn along to my friends, and hope that they all prepare in the manner in which they find appropriate. It’s even OK if their level of preparedness is “zero.” At least then I know where they stand, and wouldn’t post to GIMPs any more or think about ways to get people more involved. I want to help folks learn, and have an interactive way to bounce my own ideas/strategies off of interested people. However, I don’t want to dilute my time with GIMPs if it’s just three of us talking to each other.

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1 Comment on "GIMPing along"

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  1. Ed says:

    I check it every day!

    Course it might just be 4-5 of us, in which case the web presentations and chats might be best.