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Like Drinking Water From A Fire Hose

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I can’t do it anymore. I can no longer keep up with all the shaving-related discussions on the various forums I inhabit. When I first got interested in this “hobby” a few years ago there was only one discussion group devoted to shaving, the old MSN Wetshavers forum (well, OK, technically there were two forums, both on MSN. Both were started coincidentally after the original forum was suddenly deleted, but pretty much everyone hung out on one over the other. Both have since been deleted, replaced by MSN’s “The Wetshavers Group” but it is a shadow of its former self). The “bandwidth” was pretty low, a few messages a day, and the mods made sure the “signal to noise ratio” was high by keeping out the spam and diplomatically re-directing off-topic messages to the “Off Topic” section of the forum. Forum traffic went temporarily insane after Corey Greenberg’s appearance on the Weekend Today show (US), giving the “traditional shaving” niche a tremendous boost (some vendors reported selling a year’s worth of inventory in the space of a couple months following that video). Corey “rode the wave” by starting a blog, but he’s apparently gone on to bigger and better things, as he hasn’t posted in a long time.

Then in 2005 (I think) “Shave My Face” appeared. Unlike the MSN forums, which are, frankly, ghastly to use (in terms of features/functionality) SMF used up-to-date forums software that made it much easier to use. Initially there was a lot of membership overlap with the MSN gang, but soon new users were gravitating to SMF exclusively. Within a year or so Badger and Blade (“B&B”) started, again initially with some membership overlap then picking up their own base. Then 2007 saw the start of The Shave Den. There is still a lot of membership and topic overlap between these sites, but each site has its own “vibe” or personality so there are members that stick to one forum.

And it all used to be pretty easy to keep track of. Then about 9 months or so ago, traffic across all the sites seemed to pick up. New users were coming in more often (some referred by my videos), posting more often, with less overlap between forums. I found myself having to check the sites more often, from once a day to several times a day. At the same time I discovered other, grooming-related forums with semi-regular questions about shaving (,, menessentials, etc.) that I started to keep track of as well. I suddenly found myself reviewing about 15 different forum sites every day–and that doesn’t include blogs (i.e. Leisureguy, shavingstuff, manscaping, etc.), video sites, and video forums! See the set of links titled “Discussion Forums” on the right side of this blog to give you an idea.

Even with RSS feeds and automated readers I can’t keep up. B&B alone can have several hundred new messages a day. On the one hand this is a great thing, as its obvious that more and more people are getting fed up with the shave they’re getting and are looking for something better. On the other hand I feel bad I can’t keep up with the traffic volume anymore and I might be missing something “important.” I’ve been trying to summarize the relevant topics for a couple vendors as well (who have even less time than I) but its become impossible for me to do that too.


Shave tutor and co-founder of sharpologist. Also check out my content on Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest!View Author posts

8 thoughts on “Like Drinking Water From A Fire Hose”

  1. RE: recent traffic up-tick, two factors that might help drive some of this are ecology and economy.

    I started the long march into ‘classic shaving’ by looking at how wasteful the packaging was in a can of shaving cream. So I bought a WalMart brush/soap/ceramic-bowl set. I used this with my SensorExcel cartridge razor for a year.

    I thought about DE, partly because of the un-recyclability of cartridges, and partly because they are really expensive. When I was faced with buying another 25-pack of cartridges, I bought a DE razor.

    Economically, I now get 5-6 shaves out of a blade that costs about 15 cents. As cartridges go up, and the economy goes down, and the Internet helps people discover new (old) options, I would expect DE to grow more every year.

    I don’t know how many DE users there are like me. I don’t ‘enjoy’ shaving. The hedonistic, almost fetishistic, approach to classic shaving does nothing for me (not that it bothers me that others enjoy these things).

  2. If I were you, Mantic, I wouldn't feel too bad, you're doing a great job in spreading the word & I think it's a great thing that traditional wet shaving is becoming more popular. My dream is still that I can buy most of my supplies locally. I am a huge soccer fan, but I don't read everything that is being written about soccer on a daily basis, but I still keep up & know what's going on through selective reading.

  3. I've had to cut down on even following B&B. There was some new stuff but it seemed to go in circles for me. I couldn't possibly keep track of just that one site now.

    On the plus side you've revealed your new pre-shave prep technique (fire hose). When will we get to see the video of that? You could operate the hose and we could get a newbie to be your subject, that would be fun.

  4. You should try Yahoo Pipes. It allows you to plug in RSS feeds, and filter out what you don’t want to see. For example, on Manessentials, you could say “don’t show me anything unless Razor appears in the story.

    This will help you keep from seeing irrelevant material, at least.

  5. dietmar- Yes, I’m not even including the non-English sites. I know there are sites in Germany, Spain, and Norway (because I saw them on google searches) but since I don’t speak any languages other than English (and barely that one!) I couldn’t participate (babel fish just doesn’t translate them very well).

    Luckily my blog is low volume. 🙂

  6. Mark, I only try to follow one forum site and I agree, it is next to impossible to keep up. A year or so ago, there would be around seven pages of New Posts each day. Recently, this has pretty much doubled. I am still trying to follow it, but I am on the verge of giving up.

    I cannot imagine how you have tried to keep up with so many sites and other sources. I don’t blame you a bit for capitulating.


  7. Guess what, there are not only English wet shaving related forums there are also German boards which I kind of have to visit. It’s hard to accept but at some point you have to filter what you actually want to read and what to leave out.

    But your blog’s really what I don’t want to miss 😉

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