Tesla is looking to harness the power of its stans to help it advance its goals. In recent days, it launched Tesla Engage, a social platform that brings together its public policy team and its Tesla’s Owners Clubs.
Tesla Engage, which soft-launched last year, will replace the official Tesla Forums, a place where Tesla fans, investors, and verified owners could talk about the things they loved and the problems they had with the company’s products. Tesla Forums will become read-only on March 15. The new platform, Tesla Engage, appears to be very different in nature from Tesla Forums. As TechCrunch points out, Tesla Engage is more focused on news, campaigns, and events—not talking about cars.
Fans will also not be able to create posts or threads on Tesla Engage, only comment on posts and campaigns shared by the company.
“Engage Tesla is a new platform for both Tesla’s public policy team and Tesla Owner’s Clubs. Its goal is to create a digital home base for all of our work, and make it easier for Tesla community members to learn what’s top of mind for us, take meaningful action, and stay in the loop. We hope you’ll join us in getting involved,” the platform’s welcome post reads.
Per TechCrunch, Tesla Engage will also help people apply for membership to Tesla Owner’s Clubs, create a direct line of dialogue with the company’s policy team, and encourage visitors to get involved in the company’s advocacy efforts.
The platform seems to want to coordinate things that Tesla fans were already doing, however. One example is the recent fundraiser by the Tesla Owner’s Club of Silicon Valley, which raised more than $10,000 for Del Valle, Texas to help it recover from the recent winter storm. Del Valle is the area where Tesla’s new Gigafactory in Texas is being built.
Meanwhile, on Tesla Engage, there is currently a “Disaster Relief – Texas,” campaign, which lists a variety of ways Tesla owners can support relief efforts, including helping with food, shelter and animal rescue.
There is also a political campaign on Tesla Engage. Titled “Nebraska — Take Action,” the campaign encourages people who reside in certain Nebraska districts—34, 17, 23, 6, 10, 25, 22, and 44, in case you were wondering—and tells them to contact state legislators and submit online comments in support of LB 633. The bill would allow Tesla to sell its cars to customers in the state directly without operating a franchise dealership there.
“If you believe Nebraskans should have the freedom to purchase and service their vehicle in their own state, please consider contacting your Senators on the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee,” the company wrote on Tesla Engage. “Passage of LB 633 is essential to providing Tesla customers in Nebraska with the best Tesla experience.”
Unlike Tesla Forums, Tesla Engage will be moderated. Tesla Forums, while beloved by many fans, was also known for spam, trolls, and sometimes attacks on other users.
At first glance, the new platform seems like a good business move on Tesla’s behalf. After all, it has tons of adoring fans, why not further focus their attention and efforts on things the company is working on or political campaigns that benefit its bottom line? Yet, good business moves don’t always translate to good community moves. It’s one thing to advocate or help out when you want to, but it’s another thing when the company asks you to do it. There’s also a difference between talking about whatever you want on Tesla Forums and only being able to talk about what Tesla’s public policy team wants to talk about on Tesla Engage.
Then again, I don’t own a Tesla, and I’m not a stan. Maybe its fans will be alright with these efforts in the long run.