Flatmattersonline is 11 Years Old!

Text: Effraim.

Good morning everyone!

Wednesday 27th November marks a special day, today I celebrate eleven years of running the Flatmattersonline website!

11 years!!!

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.You can take the help of a top ranking SEO service to help your prospects find you easily without the help of expensive ads. 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.

Thanks Flatland!

Effraim Catlow
Flatmattersonine / 11 Years Strong.

32 thoughts on “Flatmattersonline is 11 Years Old!

  1. I think that you have done a great job for riders ,& as you said, it’s a ‘labour of love’ Effraim, which to me is a nice thing, in this world. I’ve only been commenting on here for about a year and l really enjoy the edits, and everything else. Much thanks Effraim.

  2. Where and what would be flatland today without FM ?
    Huge work, congratulation to you and to the team, by the way it would be interesting to make a repo about FM : tools, people, office … we are curious.
    I check FM everyday, long life to FM

  3. 11 years strong, I’m proud of you my dude, keep up the good work for the top tiers, up and comers and the underground heads.

  4. Happy Birthday Flatmatters online! I can’t really put the words down that would really show how much I respect what you do Big E.so all I can do is say thank you.

  5. Gracias , Big -E !! You really have no idea how much I LOVE this site . No matter what……..if I get online……..NO MATTER WHAT………I ALWAYS hit up THIS site , whether its 2 hours or 2 minutes …..I just HAVE to check it , get stoked , motivated , shocked , by the level of bike riding , articles , reviews , interviews , pod casts , bike checks , must watch edits , etc ,etc……You’ve done such a GREAT thing here, for our sport / culture / life style of FLATLAND bmx ! Happy Birthday FLATMATTERSONLINE !! I HOPE this train KEEPS Rollin ANOTHER 11 YEARS , Effraim . THANK YOU , AGAIN , TIMES 7 . How bout a lil riding clip of ya , E ?! Just a lil line to CELEBRATE your 11 YEARS making the sport SO much BETTER ,via THIS site . CHEERS , mate.

    • I’m working on a new edit. Taking my time, you can check my Instagram for the throwaway clips. I hope you’ll see it in the new year and some point! Thank you for the support, you are a great person for our sport Rodney!

  6. When I check FM, I usually watch the “better” videos first and consume the rest of the updates over the next couple of days, so essentially I am browsing FM most days of the week.

    A FM clothing line might be cool, but I would like to see more originally produced content, maybe you should hire an assistant to reduce the work.
    The page UI could also be a little bit more intuitive, with easier navigation through categories to appeal to the mainstream. The search currently doesn’t deliver video thumbnails and little things like that.

    Even back then, in it’s original blog-format, this page was a huge service to almost every flatlander.
    It’s amazing to think about how many hours of footage you have to have seen.
    Did you think about compiling OSS’s and narrating over them to give insights on the history etc.?

    Thank you and keep it up!

    • Some great thoughts here K!
      The site has had a lot more original content this year, it just takes time to compile.
      The thumbnail thing is a problem, I’m not tech savvy enough to know how to fix that.
      I search through the categories more and that produces better results for me when I’m looking for stuff.
      Thanks for the comment!

  7. To document,share and progress…that moto follows me since day 1 of Flatmatters and the reason i am here.Happy Birthday Big E!God bless Flatmatters!!

  8. Now its REALLY time to start documenting, sharing, and trying to make some real progress! I can’t believe how fast times been going by the past handful of years. I found FM through revisiting global-flat after spending a handful of years off the bike for no good reason. I’d just had my son and decided to get back into wrestling the iron pony. Now three years and change later, I realize that FM has become part of my daily routine. Its hard to get the time in on the bike, and I’m kind of starting to feel like a parasite taking in all the content here and not filming my own riding to contribute something. Having never been on social media, I’ve begun the learning curve involved in filming yourself ride, putting the footage together, and posting a vid online. If the end product ain’t FM material, I just got to go ride harder. Thanks so much as always Big-E! I thought it was cool you rode for an OG Canadian flatland company(Ronin) back in the day, but doing FM is really next level! You got me to switch from Red Rose and Tetley to Yorkshire tea! I’d totally be into buying an FM zipper hoodie or t-shirt. Stoked to see what’s next. Happy anniversary!! All the best!

  9. First off, congratulations on eleven years strong. I’ve seen bike companies not last as long as this site has! I can’t remember how exactly I learned of the site, but I think I learned of it via a discussion on global-flat. I’m usually here two or three times a week, just to keep up on the scene. Anyways, congrats again. The hard work you’ve put in definitely shows.

  10. Thank you for the great website and updating videos so often Effraim! Good job and as you said,the reason that you made the site is still pushing riders to go and ride after watching an amazing edit! Regards

  11. Thanks Effraim for everything you have done for Flatland. From Flat Matters to Judging to Southsea Skatepark, King Of Concrete to your own riding (which has inspired me for over 30 years!) to your love and knowledge of this thing we do called Flatland. What you have done for Flatland has directly impacted on and improved my life and many others I’m sure.
    I have been following FM since at least 2009ish and I still check it out at least every couple of days. I can’t remember exactly where I first found out about it, whether it was online, in a magazine or from someone at The Green Mile, but since then it has been a lifeline for me to connect to the heart beat of Flatland.
    Huge respect and thanks for all the effort you have put in to FM and Flatland in general.
    Keep up the good work. James.

  12. Huge thank you and deep respect for all you’ve done over those years!
    I check out FM from everyday to once a week or so, but everytime i do, its like getting connected to the flatland community and it feels so good!
    FM is for me that little sweet window that you open to escape the daily routine, so thank you once again Effraim for that!
    You deserve a lot for all this job and passion you put into FM!
    All the best for you, whether on bmx or personnal projects… and have a good session!
    Thank you.

  13. E.. thank you for all the hardwork over the years. It does not go UN-noticed. You have given back to flatland more than anyone in my opinion. you are the man.. Cheers to another 11 years!

  14. ….everyday….since the “totally intense” days 🙂 … flatmaters is the little bit of string that somewhat keeps me linked to flatland bmx (from afar). Thanx Efraim.

  15. Congratulations on the 11 years of working on strengthening the plain and spreading films of various riders from different continents and countries showing different lifestyles on their bikes in their daily lives and with this medium we can travel without leaving our couch and we can follow the evolution of this sport and that we love and defend so much we will go to 2020 with a huge baggage watching and accompanying many modern and legendary riders that still today and are always showing originality evolution in their combos and combinations a huge hug from the Muf Association and Insideout Garage Happy New Year See you all soon …

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