Updated – April 2020
What are you doing to promote your hobby? Forget about yourself for a second and consider if what you are doing is helping or hindering others who share the same hobby as you?
- Physical Appearance:
This might vary for some hobbies that have safety requirements or require wearing specific clothing. When undertaking your hobby, are you presentable in your clothing and appearance? While I am not suggesting for one second that you should go out in a three-piece suit, is your clothing neat and tidy? Are you presenting yourself as somebody you would want to talk to? Nobody wants to talk to somebody who looks “rough”.
Recently I was in a local take away outlet where I saw a couple of well know amateur radio operators, they looked like “homeless bums”, they had HT’s on their belt and club tops. They simply were not selling their hobby in a positive light.
Much like how employees are expected to represent their employer in a professional manner when wearing their uniform, should the same not also apply to those who are clearly representing / displaying their hobby (no matter what this is)?
If somebody came up and spoke to you, would you welcome this interaction and provide them information on your hobby and answer any questions? Do you look for opportunities to both promote your hobby and demonstrate it in a positive light to anybody who shows an interest? Do you avoid the well known “old boys club” attitude which is so very clear in a lot of radio clubs?
Do you speak in a tone and manner which is welcoming, and do you reframe from swearing, especially around children? If you are asked questions, can you answer them in a manner which would encourage more people to join into your hobby or would you be seen as pushing people away?
Is your equipment stored and used in such a way as to not be a risk to others? Is it well kept and not dangerous? Do you consider other people when setting up in public spaces?
- Online presence:
If you have an online presence (website, blog, Facebook page), is it regularly updated and used to promote your hobby as something other people might like to be a part of?
The key point in all of this is that what you do as an individual reflects on everybody else who also undertakes that hobby, both in a positive and negative way. Much like wearing a uniform with your employers branding, you need to present yourself and your hobby in a positive light.
While it is not right that we all “get painted with the same brush”, the reality is that it happens and what we each do can and does impact how your hobby is seen by the public and can impact others enjoyments of their hobby.
Recently I was out with my family when I noticed a man racing a remote-controlled car at a park, he didn’t seem out of place to start with. Over a short period of time he ran the car at a group of kids and then approached one child, it was clear from the parent’s reaction that this person was not known to this child.
What gets to me is that by a few actions, this person has now made these parents think twice when they see somebody with a remote-control car. What was this guy doing and why did he run his car at the group of kids? What could have been a positive interaction and a chance for this guy to promote his hobby instead turned in to a negative interaction. I know as I spoke to the parents of the child later.
Some hobbies are “mainstream” and easily explained, others look weird or geeky and it is these hobbies which we need to really take the time to paint in the best possible light. Making a geeky hobby more so, does nobody any favours and only pushes it and those who undertake it further in to the edge of society, make the gap even larger than what it needs to be, both now and in to the future.
Be smart and think about what you want your hobby to look like tomorrow and how what you do today is shaping this.
Paul - Moderator