Feb 2 20203. I’ve woken up this morning to a couple of friends spreading a #saveairsoft tag on Instagram. After flicking through the news feed, there’s a lot that seem to be suffering with posts being taken down for breaching community guidelines. For the big platforms like Facebook, YouTube and Instagram, it’s something that has been in the pipeline for a while now and a lot of content does get filtered out as we move towards the god awful future that Demolition Man predicted. It’s like the apocalypse coming for a lot of our content creators.
Not here though, don’t worry.
The problem with airsoft is that although we love it, and we love guns, the general public does not and wants to fight it. Especially in the very delicate and flaky society that we now suffer. Airsoft in the UK was a couple of times on the verge of getting banned and Canada is facing the same prospect now, but good people fought long and hard to keep it and crucially to allow us to use RIF’s rather than running around with brightly coloured water pistol style weapons. Then came social media and the need to be seen and heard, with a glut of players crying out not to take airsoft so seriously, and custom making brightly coloured water pistol style guns which plays right into the hands of the people that want rid of airsoft as an “unnecessary” hobby, as one minister put it the last time the government reviewed it.
Social media has then popularised airsoft, making sure that the wider public is as aware of it as possible. We have “content creators” (attention seekers in part) who are then casting it in a very negative light with cheater videos and other dramas because the algorithms pick up on it so they can get their ad revenue. There are also guys posing in their mum’s bathroom mirror with guns trying to look like gang members with bb guns that really isn’t helping the cause. In trying to show it off to everyone, we’ve potentially attracted too much attention to ourselves at a time when gun violence is at an all time well-below-average (UK source – Home Office/US Dept of Justice 1990-), but sensationalist journalism is keen to exploit it. There are players who without thinking will go and take their RIF’s outside in public, either to and from the car without a gun case, shooting in their back garden, or there’s a story of one guy who walked all the way home in full kit.
So what we’re left with is a situation where we’ve collectively shot ourselves in the foot, and are now possibly having our social platforms taken away from us. No more income streams, no more advertising, no more discount codes being bandied around. There are alternative platforms that have been used for several years but it spreads airsoft across a number of obscure places. What we could have is all of our content wiped and deleted, so if there’s anything you want I’d strongly recommend backing it up now…
A couple of years ago I moved off a lot of social media to do the bulk of my stuff both here and in discord, and I see in the last week Novritsch has started a discord to give him a backup platform to advertise on should the worst happen, but in spaces like that you’ve got thousands of people constantly talking in what is effectively a string of chat rooms and it doesn’t handle information well. If there’s one thing Facebook does well, it’s the ability to create threads and organise information. And the creation of events, which is a very useful tool for us.
The solution would be all airsoft in one place, and the answer will be Airsofter World, which is built and run by airsofters so there’s no danger of it disappearing. It’s a big project to shift everything across, and it may help trim a few weeds that were in it for the wrong reasons. Now is probably a very good time to start fresh.