I’ve been reluctant to acknowledge the benefits of social media. In fact for many years I’ve been downright scathing. About six months ago I finally gave in when it was pointed out to me that there’s a whole modelling community out there who are wiling to share their ideas and models with you, and as your ‘friends’, you can ensure that the content that you send out will go to them only. Nervously I made my first posts and requested a few friendships with those that I knew. I posted some of my work and there have been some kind and supportive responses. With my modest collection of friends I had a reliable band of people who I know and have mostly met.
As time has gone on I’ve been invited to join a few groups and my network of friends has expanded. Now these are people I don’t really know, but I am secure in the knowledge that we have ‘mutual’ friends who I do know, and of course, any friend of theirs is a friend of mine. Some people have friends numbering thousands but I find this a little overwhelming, and am still tentatively making new ones.
This weekend I posted a couple of models, and the power of this method of communication really hit home. One, the little Polikarpov I-5 was built to help me get out of the rut that I’ve been in for most of this year. It nearly went into the bin when the two decals needed to complete the scheme shattered into pieces when coming into contact with water, and there was no way I was going to attempt to reconstruct complex cyrillic script. I played around with the model by customising it a bit and I’m really pleased with the result. It doesn’t represent anything in particular but it looks pretty good, as acknowledged by the may ‘likes’ and a number of comments it received.
The other model, a Wingnut Wings Albatros D.Va was completed around five years ago, the vehicle for a number of new sets of decals that had just been released. As the model had been given to me for review I had no qualms about missing out most of the time-consuming internal detail so that I could meet a deadline. To do this I draped the cockpit and engine with some oily sheets. This combined with a particularly attractive scheme made the model pretty distinctive, and I can only imagine that these are the reasons why it amassed a very large number of likes and comments over the past 24 hours (in fact the computer has ‘pinged’ as I write!).
Given the rut I found myself in this feedback has been both heartwarming and inspirational, particularly as some of the support has come from some notable individuals in the modelling community, and from many who are no slouches when it comes to putting a model together themselves. To them I once again say thank you.
It’s easy to believe that this hobby is, well, only a hobby, but it has been a good part of my life now for over fifty years, and I have to acknowledge that it is very important to me in its own way, though it certainly doesn’t consume me the way it does some. I’ve had a few months away and it’s done me good, and I’d do the same again if I needed to. I’m not that naive to think that Facebook is the emotional crutch that will magically solve anyone’s problems (of course there are some pretty nasty people out there) but I know that I probably wouldn’t need to go any further than to look towards my new Facebook friends for help and a bit of inspiration.