Retweet to grow Simple Magic on Twitter | Simply Ranked

Plus: Calculating skateboarding's future, local good news alert, Google Street View photo incentive and more.

The definitive weekly ranking and analysis of all the skateboarding and other online things that I cannot stop consuming and how they make me feel, personally.

Retweet to… grow?

Rank: 445k
Mood: 🌱

“Retweet to grow #skateboarding on Twitter” is the refrain captioned atop every clip that user @skategrndmag shares on the platform, an account that I don’t follow but still happens to cross my feed almost daily. It features clips from notable pro and amateur skaters along with viral maneuvers repackaged and reposted with the prompt to use their tweets as the new vehicle of exposure. It’s a naked way to drive engagement and grow one’s follower count (@skategrndmag’s now sitting at just under 17k). But it seems harmless, even if it is a bit annoying.

That led me to wonder if this was the only social platform that @skategrndmag was trying to grow skateboarding on, like a clip-sharing missionary. It turns out they’d already succeeded at that on Instagram. @skategroundmag boasts over 445k followers, a massive audience apparently made by using much the same tactics as on Twitter: reposting tricks from recently released skate videos or Instagram edits and anchoring them with a series of hashtags in the caption.

What does #nyjah or #treflip have to do with Jake Hayes’ big ol’ pop shove? Not much. But I’d imagine they’re an A/B tested success when determining which hashtags bring in the most engagement to a post. While corny, this style of content aggregation is generally pretty innocuous. However, while scrolling through @skategroundmag’s page, I noticed a series of promotional posts from clothing brands and that in the account’s bio, there is a directive to “DM FOR PROMO.” So I did.

Slav, a Polish web developer who runs the account, answered almost immediately. He was very kind, wondered if Nowicki was Polish (it is) and then asked what I had to promote. Well, this very newsletter, I offered. Slav let me know that if I was “planning to monetize we can work out a promo deal,” and “If we could close the deal fast [he’d] do 4 posts 4 stories for $49.”

Unfortunately for him, this newsletter will remain free for its beloved readers, so I turned down the deal. But I did ask him for a brief, DM-based interview for this week’s newsletter, and he agreed. Following another pleasant exchange, I sent over a series of questions about when he started the account, when it started to pick up steam, and if the @Nixon and @CariumaSkateboarding tags in the account’s bio meant he had some sort of sponsorship arrangement with them.

Slav hasn’t responded since. Which is fine, but I was genuinely curious about how an account like this operates. How much time does he devote to @skategroundmag? Where does he source all of his clips from? Does he ask before reposting them? Is there a set social media strategy he follows?

And how much does he regularly make from promo posts, and what are his thoughts on essentially monetizing other people’s work?

Before he went silent, Slav shared his personal account, which has over 12k followers. His bio linked to other popular accounts he appears to manage. There is one dedicated to Polish car memes with 12.5k followers, one for reviewing fragrances with over 13k followers, and another skate clip aggregator that also appears to deal in promos1. In the latter’s bio are links to two more separate skate clip aggregator pages with 1,300 and 1,200 followers, respectively—a nesting doll of accounts.

The guy clearly has a hustle going on here, and you know what, who can blame him? In the online murk of social media, its constant content churn and regurgitation, there are potential dollars to be made for those willing to put the work in. That said, it is ethically dubious to leverage the 445k followers you’ve accrued by sharing other people’s skate clips to sell “promo” space. And while these types of accounts that share a skater’s clips might help grow said skater’s follower counts (when they’re properly credited as Slav does with @skategroundmag), it’s hard to say if that’s a fair trade, as that’s simply the way content flows on the internet now. There’s no choice to be had.

So, I imagine if our retweets and shares are helping to grow anything, it’s probably Slav’s rainy day fund.

Calculating skateboarding’s future


Is there a way to predict when a notable skateboarding trick, once done regular, will eventually be performed switch? Because in most instances, this could be seen as a 100% increase in “progression.” The folding over of time from one groundbreaking moment to its successor. To anticipate this phenomenon would allow us to peer into the future—a calculation, a porthole, to open and see when the next level of skateboarding will arrive.

To calculate this formula, I assume all we have to do is take a sample of notable regular-stance tricks and figure the average time it took before someone landed them switch. Thankfully, with the release of Primitive Skateboard’s latest full-length Define, we now have the footage to prove multiple new instances of this at our disposal.

Darrell Stanton, backside noseblunt, 2002
Carlos Ribeiro, switch backside noseblunt, 2021
DIFFERENCE: 19 years

Josh Kalis, bigspin backtail, 2009
Tiago Lemos, switch bigspin backtail, 2022
DIFFERENCE: 13 years

Dylan Jaeb, kickflip, May 31, 2022
Carlos Ribeiro, switch kickflip, June 5, 2022

AVERAGE: 10.6 years

What do these wildly varying degrees in time tell us? From this small, haphazardly collected sample size, can we accurately claim that 10.6 years is usually how long it takes for a regular trick to be overtaken by its switch counterpart? Is this really the formula that will help project the future of skateboarding’s next great leaps in ability and self-mythology? Hell if I know, man. I barely passed Math 11.

Local good news alert

Rank: 1!
Mood: 🪅 🎊 🎉

Vancouver’s skateboarding community, led by the Vancouver Skateboard Coalition, has toiled for years with the city’s notoriously slow-moving and unfeeling Parks Board. However, this week, in a successful showing of the community’s dogged and passionate commitment to creating more skateable spaces and fostering the growth of skateboarding at large, the Vancouver Parks Board voted unanimously to support the Vancouver Skateboard Amenities Strategy (CitySkate). Built from the results of a survey filled out by local skateboarders, CitySkate expresses what updates, upgrades and new additions Vancouver’s skateboarding community wants to see in the city over the next 20 years.

You can find the whole Amenities Strategy here and check out some highlights of what the Park’s Board approved below (taken from the VSB’s Instagram post):

  • Construct seven new ‘network hub’ or ‘neighbourhood’ level skateparks to act as the foundation of the skate amenity network
  • Construct 10 new ‘skate spots’ and ‘skate dots’ in parks throughout the city as opportunities arise
  • Upgrade six existing skate parks with modern construction standards to ensure safe and interesting spaces that meet future demand

While dealing with endless, grinding bureaucracy can rightfully feel hopeless at times, it’s always easier to roll that boulder up the hill with the help of others.

Google Street View photo incentive

Rank: 4
Mood: 👀

To provide the most accurate advice on the where and the why we must also consider the “who” of it all. The people that give context and definition to a place, from the locals to the local legends.

Because people and what people do there are what help make a spot a “spot” and not simply forms of concrete with uncertain potential.

Does this mean that Google Street View needs to start including hyperlinks to the appropriate Bobby Puleo video part each time your mouse hovers over a cellar door in New York City to provide a more accurate wayfinding experience? That would be helpful, yes.

A different perspective

Rank: 5
Mood: 🦤

All of this talk about vulturous online tendencies has me thinking that we might not be considering the whole picture here. Maybe vultures have a bad rap, and perhaps if we look a little closer, we can see the beauty they bring to the world. All we have to do is let them latch onto us and enjoy the view as we collectively hurtle towards an unknown fate.

Something to consider: “You just can’t sacrifice the performance of good old silica carbide black griptape.” Robert Jessup from Frozen in Carbonite’s “The Politics of Griptape” up on Quartersnacks.

Good things: TGIF, ammiright?

Until next week… go for a walk in a park, pet any dog that runs up to you, tell the owner it’s no problem at all when its dirty paws mark up your pants.

  1. Curiously, after Slav stopped responding, he also appeared to have removed the links to the other accounts from the bio of his personal one. They’re still gone at the time of publishing.