“But it really is the sense of community and the breaking of isolation that brings the Internet into its own”
One of the downsides to working from home is that you can go for hours with only the voices in your head for company. When my wife leaves for work at 8am, I know that the rest of the day will be one of solitude and though I may get the occasional caller (usually asking if I want to make a PPI claim, have my boiler serviced, or to tell me that my Windows computer has a virus when the caller obviously has no idea that I use a Mac…) but beyond that, it can be a pretty lonely existence.
So when, after a few years of doing this job in my role as the Editor of Traplet Publications Military In Scale magazine, the Internet started to expand, it was something of a pleasure to know that I could converse with others who led a similarly home-bound life. Of course at the time we only had dial-up with its bleeps and whistles, but it was enough and when I finally discovered that I could upload images onto forums, that was it! Suddenly the world had become a tiny place in which to interact with modellers. I was hooked.
Today, we are connected in ways that even ten years ago, seemed unimaginable. At the click of a mouse you can have full blown conversations with friends, offer insights into your work and ask for advice that helps to build your latest masterpiece, answer a technical question, or perhaps make you laugh with a joke that’s as inappropriate, as it is funny.
Yesterday this was brought into sharp focus after I’d posted a rather silly picture of my Academy F-18 that I’m building for Model Airplane magazine. Amongst the smiles and comments about other means of supporting the drying wings, a Facebook friend suggested that I may also want to look at the rear fuselage of the model, where panel lines were not as correct as they should be. I liked the idea that this had been passed on and as the model was at a stage where changes could be made, I was happy to learn more. And learn I did. An hour or so later a picture appeared in my Messenger in-box that had been annotated to show exactly which panel lines needed to be filled and where new lines needed to be scribed in. It was simple, welcome and more than helpful!
This is where the Internet can really be a force for good amongst the cat memes, political comments and other posts that sometime crop up. It can as seen here be an almost instantaneously helpful portal through which — in this case — modellers can meet to help each other out with ideas and suggestions that guide the recipient to build better models. I was completely unaware of the issue with the panel lines, so being told and then shown where the work needed to be done, certainly helped with this project. It was similar to another message that suggested that I took a look at the other F-18 that I am building, Kinetic’s 1:48 kit, that includes undersized wheels. Once again, this was news to me, so I took on board the comment, checked and then replaced the main wheels with items from a Hasegawa kit that was surplus to requirement. It seems that everyone is keen to help build my nest of Hornets!
But it really is the sense of community and the breaking of isolation that brings the Internet into its own. Being able to chat to friends, post a live video or just offer up thoughts that open up comments in reply, is a fun aspect that means that although you are working physically alone, company is little more than a click away. Hell, you don’t even have to be in front of a computer, you can do all of this using your smart phone – now that really is progress!
So tomorrow I will begin work again and face a day with only the voices in my head for company. But I know that it won’t be long before contact is made with friends around the world and that questions will be answered, thoughts shared and jokes told. It may not help get my work done on time, but at least I won’t be alone!
Now, where’s that Hornet..?