Five Things You Can Do To Be A Better Ambassador For Your Hobby

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We all have hobbies. From historical reenactment, to tabletop RPGs, to horror movies, comic books, and more, these are the things that make us happy. They’re the activities and media we turn to when we need to decompress, and they’re often where we go to find community. However, something we often forget is that in order for our hobbies to grow, we need to actually expand our numbers. Without fresh blood coming in, our communities will shrivel. Worse, for those built around a particular type of media or a certain franchise, it’s possible that a shrunken community won’t be able to support production of more of the content we want to see. Which is why it behooves us to be ambassadors for our hobbies if we want to see them grow and flourish. The problem is that a lot of us geeks, nerds, and “enthusiasts” don’t seem to know how to do that. #1: Be a Guide, Not a Gatekeeper We’ve all encountered gate keepers in our hobbies. They tend to be the bearded oldsters who lurk near the third shelf in the comic store, or who sit at the head of the gaming tables with books and cards laid out in front of them like the universe’s geekiest wizard. They treat all those who enter their domain as aspirants, and they pepper them with questions. But whether it’s which artist is their favorite in Batman’s canon, to what is their favorite splatterpunk film, to which of three obscure manga did they like best, the questions are actually irrelevant. They exist solely to determine if the person the gate keeper is speaking to has enough knowledge of lore and trivia to be allowed into the kingdom of “true” fans. These people are the worst. Gate keeping is one of the most harmful things you can do, as it drives people away from your hobby, and creates artificial barriers to enjoyment. If you are someone with a deep knowledge of your hobby, who can call upon plot arcs, directors, film makers, and gaming systems, there is another role you should choose to take on instead; the guide. Guides actively help those who are newer to a hobby, or who may not know the more obscure corners, leading them to areas of enjoyment they might otherwise miss. Rather than judging people as not being worthy of the title of “fan,” a guide is more concerned with inducting new people into their hobby, and ensuring they aren’t left floundering, unsure of where to go next. A guide is someone who uses knowledge and power responsibly, and they set the example for how other fans should act when they get a chance to bring someone into the hobby. #2: Make It About Your Audience

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