Posting work in Facebook communities

Sharing your work on Facebook can be a real mixed bag, and it really depends on just how you use it, what you want from it and how comfortable you are with it. With that in mind, here’s a few thoughts you might find handy – especially so if you are new to the community and to the hobby.

Let’s start with a share of a picture on one of the myriad of gunpla, mecha and modelling communities on Facebook. Here’s a few things you should bear in mind when you start getting feedback on your posts.

This hobby has a wide age range. From early teens into 50’s it’s a hobby lots of folks get into, so it’s worth bearing in mind that the kind of feedback you are going to get might be pretty varied. Younger hobbyists may be a lot more bold, cheeky or volatile. Older may be snooty, condescending or ignorant. Be aware of maturity levels.

Another thing to bear in mind is culture. This one should really be common sense to everyone given the international nature of the internet, and yet bizarrely I quite frequently see this being overlooked in favour of people assuming everyone else is in the same locale. A comment you receive may seem rude – but to someone of a different culture it’s perfectly acceptable. A good analogy can be found on colour theory. Red, to the western world can mean anger, blood, passion and warning. In the east it can mean luck, prosperity, celebration and joy. The same applies to use of language. Language ability should also be accounted for. Check the commenter’s country, before you call them an ass-hat.

Remember chaps, this is the internet and people are much bolder behind a screen than they are in person, the same applies to me! – ┬ámore so when you don’t know them. The important thing is, do not bite and let it ruin your experience, or ruin potentially valuable feedback on your work no matter how it originally come across in tone or tact. They are just words, on a screen – not an attack on your person. If you are sure, or unsure if a particular commenter is being rude or obnoxious even after taking into account culture, age and language – simply ignore them. Thank those commenter’s who give you something valuable. Those ‘that’s awesome’ comments too are nice and appreciated, but realistically not that valuable for progression. Don’t just expect praise, and accept that no matter how good you are, there’s always someone who will find faults. Clear-cut and personal abuse, which does happen for time to time should be dealt with as any other outright abuse on Facebook. Report that fucker.

If you find yourself fuming after a comment is made, do not reply! Credit yourself with 24 hours before even considering responding. More often than not, you’ll realise that ‘biting’ and getting engaged in a time-wasting argument about little to nothing is just not worth your time. Emotionally driven, ‘in the moment’ comments do not do you any favours, and we’ve all done that at one point and regretted it. Self control is such a virtue. A lesson I learned the hard way.

Choose your groups carefully. There are a billionty billion gunpla/mecha/anime communities now on Facebook, so choosing the right ones for you for what you want to get out of the experience is crucial. A good idea is to have a good look through the kinds of posts, and comments the community or group is getting, or if you know many of it’s participants and trust them. If the pictures being posted look like they are at about your level, and the comments are constructive and helpful in nature – then go for it. This process will take some time as communities evolve with numbers and quality, and will change according to your own preference or who you know in the community. Seek out the ones that work for you, and don’t stick around in the ones that are annoying or too off-subject. Don’t become one of those types who unscrupulously and continually carpet-bombs their work across several communities without any consideration or idea of what a group or communities rules are, just to get ‘known’. Just look at the current ‘known’ modellers. Do they do that? No! they will carefully choose groups and communities to share to that they regularly contribute to, knowing that carpet-bombing will only end up with them being labelled as a spamming bounder. If you are going to start posting, do it with consideration, read community rules and introduce yourself. Be polite, you’ll have far better luck starting out on the right foot to gaining something helpful and enjoyable.

So how about the other way around? How do you comment when you see other peoples work? Try to provide constructive criticism – even though I believe Facebook is a terrible platform for it. I often read people saying they either feel that they are not at a level ‘high enough’ to provide any feedback, don’t want to come across as a bad person or just don’t know what the right words are. The fact is, we all have varying levels of confidence in communication, based in part on how we’re perceived by others. The only way to overcome any barriers you have when providing any feedback is to do away with that perception. This can result in others thinking you’re a total turd, while others might see you as someone who is just plain honest or constructive. You just can not please everyone, and you have to accept that. If you still feel you can’t express yourself, then stick to being a lurker, then no one will think anything about you. Those who feel like they lack technical expertise – you have eyes right? Just say “I like that red part in the shoulder” or stick with what you know, don’t be afraid of sounding like you don’t know your shit without knowing you’re shit, and let the nerds giggle in their own creepy niche circles. If they’re courteous in correction, and not mocking – that’s valuable feedback, on your feedback. Remember too, the comment is for the poster – not for the other commentators. Don’t be a drone, offer up your own opinion.

Last but not least, remember to mark your images – especially finished works you have spent hours working on! Take a look at this article for more: http://www.gundamuk.com/2014/11/24/mark-your-model-images/

So how about you? What are your experiences posting your work on social media? How do you deal with negative response? What is the main reason you do it, or don’t do it? Got any horror stories or advice? As always take my ramblings as my own. I put my thoughts out not from authority, but to spark conversation.

Thanks ya’ll for reading. Toodle pip.