Earlier this month, Washington-state based outdoor retailer and member co-op REI announced it wouldn’t be following the trend of crazy Black Friday sales and said it would be paying its partners to not be at work. Instead, it said, it wanted its partners to be outside with friends and family, enjoying the great world we live in.
As well as giving the brand some free advertising through the #OptOutside hashtag, it helped us make a decision we’ve been debating for a while: the decision to shut our own virtual doors for the next few days. And just like REI is asking its customers and partners to spend the day enjoying the great outdoors rather than queuing for bargains at Walmart, we’re asking you, our readers to join us in spending the day enjoying zero-emissions transport and the great outdoors.
In today’s 24/7 culture, we’ve got pretty used to the concept that we can get what we want when we want it. Everything is on-demand, easily-accessible and ready whenever we want it.
From shopping to the latest news, a single click is usually enough to bring it right into our homes. As a consequence, there’s a lot of pressure on those of us who operate news sites and blogs. With the advent of super-fast Internet connection, those of us who provide content to you are finding ourselves working ever-longer hours, catering to truly global audiences who may not celebrate the same holidays or festivals, take the same days off work, or even use the same calendar.
For large, mainstream news organizations with sites located around the world that’s not an issue. It’s easy to cater to the 24/7 news culture when you’ve got several offices full of staff ready to write copy at the drop of a hat, to cover breaking news stories wherever and whenever they develop. For niche sites with small staff numbers and even smaller budgets, it’s an impossibility.
Just like shop workers being pressured to work on Thanksgiving, to serve customers on December 25, or start a shift at midnight on January 1st or Black Friday, the lines between work and home life begin to blur.
We know: we started as a British company — and Brits don’t celebrate Thanksgiving. Indeed, for the past few years, we’ve tried to keep our news coverage as constant as possible from Monday to Friday, knowing that our global readership keep different holidays both religious and secular — and that even when some readers are celebrating one holiday or other — others will expect continuous content.
We know for the next four days the news cycle will continue and we know that there will be moments when one or more of the editorial team will see a breaking news story and be tempted to drop everything in order to cover it. But we also know that in order to continue that coverage, our editorial team will be forgoing the one thing that we should all be getting lots of at this time of year: time with our loved ones.
Last year, one of our competitors continued coverage on pretty much every day of the year. And were we focused on simply being first to every story, getting the click throughs we needed on advertising, we’d be doing the same thing.
But earlier this year we shifted from funding our site through advertising to operating a donation-based model, where readers pledged their support through Patreon to help us pay the bills and keep our content impartial and ad-free. A few months later, and we’re completely blown away by the support we’re getting. We’re well on our way to our second-goal, and it’s our hope we’ll reach our third — and thus be able to hire more writers — by the end of the year.
As founder and editor-in-chief of Transport Evolved, it’s my passion to bring you the latest news in the world of future car technology. I and the rest of the Transport Evolved team seek to do so with as much clarity and context as possible. In a world where everyone else wants soundbites, we strive for in-depth analysis, not repurposing of press releases.
While covering the news is important, so too is ensuring we get down time. Time to recharge. Time to enjoy the world outside of work.
So, starting tonight, we’ll be turning off our work machines and enjoying Thanksgiving with friends and family. And on Friday, we’ll be venturing into the great outdoors in our zero-emission staff cars, enjoying the crisp clean air outside of our major cities.
Won’t you join us? Let us know what your shopping-free plans are for Black Friday in the Comments below, and share your photographs afterwards to prove where you’ve been!
Oh, and if you are celebrating, Happy Thanksgiving!
You can also support us directly as a monthly supporting member by visiting Patreon.com.