How car clubs are social networks

Internet users of social networking sites are straying away from viewing photographs of drunken revellers, or gaining zombie game points, to discussing their motoring preferences and vehicle quirks.

Top of the cars which have their own owners’ groups is the Mini Cooper – Facebook has over 300 groups for fans of the iconic motor – with over 23,000 people regularly swapping hints and tips about their love of their vehicle.

Barry Nightingale, managing director at Carcraft, says: "It is interesting to see that cars are not only viewed as a symbol of wealth and status but they are increasingly becoming a crucial part of people’s identity and social life.

"This is reflected online with large numbers using sites such as Facebook to network with like-minded drivers. The website is even encouraging the trend by introducing a ‘garage’ application, which allows users to publish the make and model of their car on their personal profile page."

Users appear to be swapping local advice about service centres who offer good value after-care, or even mechanics who have offered a poor repair.

Frances Brown, a 26-year-old Mini Cooper driver from Manchester, explains: "I regularly post messages to other Mini drivers in the group to share information on anything from repair costs to different models and new accessories."

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