I started competitive shooting when I was 10 years old. When I first started shooting those were the days of sparse dial-up internet, pagers, line-dot printers, cell phones the size of car batteries, wind suits, Vanilla Ice and Al Gore inventing the internet. That was 1997 this is 2015.
In the decades that have passed, the world of shooting sports has changed dramatically. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, blogs and whatever the new trend is , has changed the landscape of shooting as we know it. These social media outlets have dramatically changed how we educate, inform, and otherwise show people and ourselves, the love of our respective shooting sports.
Just like anything on the internet you have to weed out those “enthusiast” who are working solely on an agenda of some sort. Typically those people are pretty easy to spot and avoid. However, there are people out there that contribute meaningfully to the firearm/outdoor world that we love. Here are a few reason why I “follow” the people that I follow on my social media accounts:
- They are a respected competitor by most people in the industry. It is important to me to always be looking and trying to immolate what other people view as respectable and strive to achieve that.
- They are better than me. One of the reason I love shooting with my fellow Crimson Trace, Fort Mill Munitions and Beyond the Sights teammate, Nick Atkinson, is because he is better than I am. I can learn and be pushed to achieve greater things by simply following them on social media. I see people doing things that I strive to do and it helps make me a better shooter.
- They hold the same values I do. My value priority list is: Faith, Family, Work, and Fun (shooting). For me, if that is ever out of balance then my life is out of balance. People who hold those same values can help you keep that in check, even if it is via social media.
- They are people/companies that are successful in every aspect of life/business. If you surround yourself by successful people you are forced to become successful.
- They are a friend. The one thing that I love the most about the shooting industry is you will never meet a stranger. The main reason you will never meet a stranger is due to the 4 things listed above this. I know that at any point in a match if I need anything people are willing to help me out and likewise I would help them out.
One of the most recent pushes in the shooting industry is the live streaming of events. I actually did this for a practice session, through an app called Periscope. I will have to admit that it was a ton of fun. I plan on live streaming some matches and prize table events in the future.
But I caution to use social media wisely, it can lead down a destructive path with one wayward tweet, post or picture. I have seen one bad post take down entire companies. Whatever you put out there will be there for everyone in the world to read or see, including people in your family and possibly your grand kids that will be around long after you are gone.
Overall social media in all forms can be a powerful tool for us as competitive shooters. We can educate, connect to other shooters, learn new techniques, hone our own skills, be encouraged and become overall better sportsmen. I encourage you to network with some fellow shooters on social media and see how it enhances your shooting skills.