Tuesday, January 2, 2018

A Call For Social Media Reform In 2018

Hey plamo nerds! The millennium just turned 18! This year I'd like to see less negativity within the hobby community. I wish we could just leave all the hatred behind and try our best to respect each other's opinions, regardless of how rashly we express our thoughts, or how immature we sometimes behave. I am guilty of this as well, but I would like to be better.

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It's easy to forget that we were once all blundering noobs, eager to improve our skills and gain the recognition and approval of our more experienced plamo brethren. We see the same questions asked over and over again on various facebook groups, and immediately dismiss these clueless newcomers as being too lazy to do their own research on information that is readily available. I get it. Many of us never had a mentor to guide us, and it's frustrating as hell to think that these new kids just want to be spoon-fed every little bit of information - but do we really want to welcome them to the hobby community with some snarky "google it" remark? Have we all forgotten how excited we were when we started out? Did none of us wish we had someone there to guide us through our first build or paint job? No matter how much information is out there waiting to be googled, it will never give a noob the confidence he or she needs, or be as exciting or rewarding, as learning directly from a teacher.

And to the newbies reading this, you must also understand that this hobby has been around for decades, and most of the information you seek is readily available. There are entire blogs (such as this one) and youtube channels dedicated to the hobby, so taking the time to do your own research is worth the effort, and your best bet for getting accurate info. If you're still lost after doing a fair bit of googling, feel free to ask on one of the more friendly facebook groups. Although some snide remarks are to be expected (it's the internet and social media after all), eventually a helpful builder will chime in to point you in the right direction. Be gracious, take the information given and use it to tailor fit your google queries to your needs, instead of seeing it as an opening for a chain combo of questions - which will most probably tick off even the most patient of hobbyists.

Oftentimes it is not the a-holeish comment, but the spectators who get baited that make things get out of hand. Imagine if we all gave each other the benefit of the doubt before judging too quickly and letting things escalate. If someone says, writes, or does something out of line, point out their mistakes in a private conversation and let them explain themselves, instead of taking screenshots right away and sharing it all over the place so everyone can take a stab at it. They may very well deserve the collective hate of the community for whatever terrible thing they just said or did, but we're all in the same ship here, and we can either be merry sailors working together to keep our ship afloat, or twisted pirates who find pleasure in watching someone walk the plank.

Some shitty stuff went down last year, affecting both the local and international plamo scenes - ranging from a poor choice of words all the way up to showing blatant disrespect at major events. Although these incidents can be attributed to a few people, looking back I can't believe how immature the community behaved in response. How is it that our hands are capable of creating such spectacular works of art, and such irresponsible posts or comments at the same time? How can we be so patient in dealing with poor quality kits, seam-lines and molding defects, but get butthurt and triggered at the slightest mention of something we don't agree with?

We are all better than that.

Social media is a great thing. It helps us all connect and share in ways that didn't even exist a decade ago. If you think about it, this lightning fast, global, and semi-anonymous communication platform gave us all super powers. It amplifies our voice so we could be heard the world over. But like uncle Ben said, with great power comes great responsibility - and I think we lose sight of that when we read about things that we disagree with.

How about this year we all try to be humble, regardless of how many trophies we've collected over the years. Give constructive criticism when we can, and also learn to accept it. Help out the bumbling ignorant noobs, no matter how annoying and lazy they seem to be, and perhaps they'll do the same when they eventually surpass us. Counter the bait posts by being just a little naive and pretending they meant no harm, instead of jumping on every chance to prove ourselves right.  If we could replace all the bickering and sarcasm with patience and understanding, then I'm sure we'll all reap the rewards of a more solid and supportive hobby community - as cheesy as that sounds. The millennium is now of legal age, and as tempting as it may be, let's try our best not to screw it up.

Until next time, keep building plamo!

*millennium chan was edited from google chan, ctto.

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