First a little love for the kids at Social. (Title is link to Social website.) They have put a lot of blood, sweat & tears into a labor of love and paintball can only benefit from the efforts of those willing to do so for the most minimal of returns--generally accompanied by more criticism than praise or worse, indifference. Second, you should visit Social, if you haven't, and see what the new site is all about. And I would recommend the same for any and all paintball-related sites that have something of interest to you. If nothing else support them by regularly checking in and seeing what's going on--and if you have anything to contribute to an ongoing conversation or the site, post a comment or three. Traditional media support of paintball is mostly a thing of the past and the plain fact is if you want to have a diversity of new media supporting and promoting paintball you (yes, you, no, not the other guy, you) need to actively support it. Just saying.
Now comes the part where I harsh everybody's mellow with some criticisms of the new Social PB. First up, "girl paintball tech" videos. For real? I know there's a contingent in paintball desperate to include more girls but pointing them (girls) out like freaks in a sideshow every time one shows up isn't the way to do it. If she was working on your gat is it important that she's a she or that she can do the job correctly? It's condescending (and isolating) whether it's intended to be or not.
Reporting & interviews. Neither one are about the reporter, what they think or how they feel. Case in point, the Russian Legion coverage. I realize the staff isn't professional journalists but more professionalism would go a long way from separating Social from the rest of the herd. (And frankly from much of the rest of paintball media, period.)
Keeping it real; controversy & taking a stand. This is an area that needs to be handled with care but not because it might upset some people but because it's easy to make a mess of it. For example, the piece called 'Does the APPA system class players out of the game?' For starters it's incomplete. All it does is throw out an assertion. It makes no case supporting that assertion or offers any alternatives. All it really does is re-hash in the most superficial way a subject VFTD broached in 2008. Is it a fair question? Sure, but if it's going to serve any purpose other than to rile up the ignorant or ill-informed it needs to be more than that. In fact APPA, working with the PSP, has changed the classification system dramatically from the time I first started posting about the issue until today and they continue to move in positive directions. (And of course the alternative to some sort of classification system is to say there is no such thing as sand-bagging. I'm okay with that but do you really want to go there?)
Then there is 'The Cost of Winning.' It isn't controversial or thought-provoking, it's just silly. It opens with the idea that Legion dropped it's American players from 2011 because they were more interested in saving money than winning paintball tournaments by equating them with professional football teams that focus on profit over winning. A) it misunderstands what Alex says in the PR, B) it demonstrates the author doesn't know the facts, and C) it strongly suggests the author has no clue about the realities of competing at the pro level in paintball. Later in the article he says, "Some pro teams are obviously worth more than D4 teams ..." No, they aren't worth more, they COST more. There is no profit, there is only cost and it is a flawed premise to begin with to equate any paintball team to a truly professional sports franchise. And everything that flows from that is misguided at best.
But it's hardly a make or break flaw. It is an example perhaps of trying too hard. Look, there are plenty of debatable topics in paintball. Exercise good judgment and some editorial oversight and raising controversial subjects will contribute to paintball instead of further muddying the water. Social has the potential to be a great paintball site and I am looking forward to seeing it reach its potential.