Tesla has launched a new social platform on its website geared at letting owners and fans of the brand “[t]ake actions on behalf of Tesla and the movement for cleaner energy.” The new microsite — called the “Tesla Engagement Platform” — already features information about how Nebraska residents can help support the company’s push to allow direct sales and service in the state, upcoming owner events, and fundraising for disaster relief in Texas following the recent winter storm.
“Engage Tesla is a new platform for both Tesla’s public policy team and Tesla Owner’s Clubs,” the first post on the new microsite reads. “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.” Users of the platform can comment on posts and “like” what other people write. They can also follow individual accounts to stay up to date with other users’ comments.
At the same time, Tesla is also closing the long-standing forums section of its website. While there are many Tesla-related forums on the internet now, Tesla’s own message board was one of the first places where owners and interested buyers could gather and discuss the good and bad things about the company’s products. It was also unmoderated, which led to constant problems with spam and trolls.
Tesla’s message boards still served that purpose to this day, but a notice at the top appeared this week telling users that the forums will become read-only starting March 15th. “To continue the conversation with the Tesla community,” the notice reads, “visit engage.tesla.com.”
The Tesla Engagement Platform appears to be an effort to further harness the potent enthusiasm of the company’s supporters by centralizing some of the work they were already doing on their own. For instance, the Silicon Valley-based Tesla Owners club had already raised $10,000 to support the Del Valle, Texas community, which surrounds the area in which the company’s new factory is being built. And Tesla owners have long lobbied their governments to adopt green energy policies.
But there’s never been as direct a feedback loop with the company’s policy team as is being promised with the new microsite. The new site also makes it easy for people to apply for membership to local owners’ clubs and see upcoming events. It also tracks with Tesla’s recent efforts to bring die-hard supporters even deeper into the fold, like when the company started taking questions from retail shareholders on its earnings calls.
Being an “engagement platform,” there is also a commenting system, which a number of users have already employed to share their ideas for improvements. Some want a better direct line to the company’s oft-criticized customer service department. But one of the most common suggestions so far is to keep the old forums around, or at least replace the message board with something similar — but moderated — on the new site.
“Please do not get rid of the Forums. This is not a replacement. The forums (with exception of the trolls on it) brought about informed discussion to help fellow owners with issues,” one user wrote.
Meanwhile, over on the official (and now officially doomed) Tesla forums, users are sharing their thoughts about the sudden decision in this thread.
“Welcome to the end of the line. You have exactly 13 more days to post threads and comments,” the initial post reads.
“This engagement site looks very limited, can’t envision it being an adequate replacement,” one user wrote. “Where are y’all going to visit? Feels like a couple of years ago when my golf club shuttered up. Scrambling to find a new home.”
Update March 5th, 2:26PM ET: Added information about users being able to follow other users and like posts on the platform.