Confused? If not I'm losing my touch but all will come clear quickly. (Alliteration rocks!) This is, by the way, Part 2, of a paintball media series begun with 'Paintball & Media, part 1'. If you're wondering about the title switcheroo just thinking about typing Paintball & Media, part 2 bored me blind--so I didn't. Sure, it might've been easier for you but since when did that matter? That's right, never. Good to see we're on the same page.
The first part concluded with the observation that with the demise of the paintball magazine (mostly) that no other media had really taken their place as a portal into the game for those who don't already play. [Okay, of the surviving mags we all know APG has the greatest reach and has always been a significant first point of contact--and probably still is--even if that knowledge makes us cringe just a little bit. Or is that just me?]
A magazine was (is) an easy access, all things paintball to all people that offered, often unintentionally and even passively, an invitation to join the fun. Maybe it's me but I don't get that from most paintball media today. Modern media outlets and sites are fragmented and their products are targeted--mostly to existing players. Each one designed to serve a narrow purpose. There are stores, forums, blogs, team sites, video sites, dedicated business & team & player sites on places like Facebook, more stores, local field information sites, gossip sites, tournament series sites, industry sites, online magazines and a few general interest and/or paintball information sites ( that often go long stretches without being updated or only provide generic content.) Most of these are niche elements focused on serving a specific function and, as a practical matter, are aimed at existing players. Sure, there is some overlap and any one of these sorts of sites might grab the attention of a non-player but that isn't what the sites are about. Hundreds and hundreds of different paintball-related sites and almost none of them are dedicated to communicating the thrill of the game to those who haven't played it already. And that goes for other media as well. Stuff like DVDs and free webcasts and, despite their best intentions, much of what has made it onto TV was, at best, a display of paintball but seldom a celebration of the game or the sport. A reason to want to participate.
Today, right now, more (and more diverse) media is less because the paintball-related outlets that exist tend to specialize and focus on attracting and serving elements of the existing player base. But there isn't any blame to be assigned here. Many of the media outlets were never intended to be paintball outreach and for the few that are it's difficult to find ways to make it feasible if not profitable. It's a new and developing world and we're still learning. Things can (and will) change. Right now the challenge is to find ways to exploit the opportunity that exists, to find new and creative ways to attract non-ballers to try paintball. For example, could a new broad-based outreach campaign be a part of what the PSTA becomes? And there are already some websites looking to act as clearing houses for news and information. How many steps beyond that is it to becoming something more, an enticement, an open invitation to the non-baller to get into the game?
Paintball needs, maybe now more than ever, to inform, educate and excite non-ballers to the thrill of the game.