Are Facebook airsoft groups declining? It’s a question I’ve been discussing with several people in recent weeks. Sprawling groups, thousands strong, are producing precious little content, almost zero interaction between 90%+ of the members of those groups, and exist now largely just to serve up arguments, especially by those who wear “troll” as if it were some kind of badge of honour. Big groups are filled with bots, or players passing through, who do nothing to further the groups goals. Let’s be honest, it isn’t a particularly gun-friendly platform anyway and navigating the minefield of rules surrounding airsoft content leaves it unable to deliver what we need it to.
I personally have a far better time on Discord, in WhatsApp chat groups, Instagram, video and phone calls. Smaller, more active groups exist where you can talk freely and get a good response from good people. As a result, I’m finding myself less and less involved on Facebook groups because they’re becoming tiresome, negative and generally a waste of time reading. But what alternatives are there to connect to a wider network? Obviously in WhatsApp, I chat to the few who have my phone number and I know personally, and also people like “AkaStaten”, who just acquire my number anyway…
And that’s all well and good. I spend hours chatting with teammates, but the knowledge we have is limited to those of us in the chat. Thankfully, there are really good content creators out there putting out information on YouTube, via blogs and websites, podcasts etc, if you know where to look. What airsoft needs though is a hub that brings all of this together, much in the way Stalker Airsoft blog brings content together from different players who use Stalker products, but on a much bigger and more open scale.
Step forward Airsoft United, a new idea from prominent Belgian outfit 25th Mountaineers. Whether you’re a creator, manufacturer, site owner, team, or just a player, Airsoft United lets you create a profile and show off whatever you want to show to the community, from gameplay videos to blogs, event reports to loadout guides. Although early days, there’s a lot of potential here, especially on the events front I think, with sites being able to add events to a calendar and get themselves on a map to help players find games to go to, which is something Facebook just can’t do.
Teams can show what they’ve been up to, their kit, or possibly advertise for new members. The personal pages, like mine, obviously link to content created elsewhere but that’s a good thing – you can use the media you want to use, and then Airsoft United will direct interested parties to you, rather than everything following the same, dull, white-and-blue format we’re all too familiar with. There’s no issue with gun pics, no “nazi admins” trying to throw their imaginary weight around, banning anyone who refuses to think like them.
It’s free, open and refreshing. And I think that’s what we desperately need right now, as the world moves forward from Covid and we look to re-engage with our hobby, and those we do it with. It’s definitely worth getting on board with, whatever you do in Airsoft. The more people and companies we can get on there, the better it’s going to work.
Zuckerberg isn’t on it. Stipsniper is. It’s free. There’s three good reasons to get started.
“Airsoft United is a player driven Airsoft database that is free to use for everyone. It’s a place where you can find Events, Teams, Locations, Gameplay, Brands and all kinds of airsoft Media content from all around the world. All that is driven by the player. By adding information to the website, you help other airsofters find what they are looking for” – Robrecht Verage, Airsoft United Creator