This got me to thinking though; what does it mean to be an asset to the hobby of metal detecting? To me, an asset would be, say--a kick ass set of wireless head phones, a machine that rules out pull tabs, or maybe even a really good sports bra? Something that greatly benefits the detectorist in a tangible way.
Meanwhile, the term ambassador, when taken literally means "spokesperson" or "promoter"... Do we really feel metal detecting is in need of promotion or any sort of cheerleading squad? Let's face it, attracting new detectorists to the hobby means more coils on the soil which isn't exactly advantageous to those already scrounging for sites. But it does equate to more history being saved, so I'm better than okay with that.
When contemplating the terms "asset" and "ambassador", it is important to understand their context is confined to the metal detecting subculture born on social media; not the hobby itself. In other words, if I am found to be an asset or ambassador by the court of social media, I do not immediately "qualify" in the eyes of a landowner.
Can you imagine a permission pitch based on testimonials like, "WaterDigger says I'm a cool chick" and "NuggetBrain thinks I'm the bomb!"? Regardless of how many YouTube subscribers they may have; the landowner will stare blankly, scratch their head, and say, "Who???" They are more impressed that I can offer references from their neighbors or someone well-respected in their local community.
The majority of landowners are simply not a part of the metal detecting subculture or its dialog. There isn't much chance someone will be holding up their hand saying, "Oh hey, before I let you detect I need to know where you stand in the long-time feud between FindsRecoverer and BadDiggahGal." Because, in the real world no one really cares!!!
And thank GOD for that. I would hate to have landowners basing my permission on DirtInvestigator's judgmental assault of my profile picture after his trousers suddenly tightened, or over someone questioning my "dedication" because I produce YouTube videos. In reality, landowners are not interested that JoeConfederate is pouting over RelicGal's percussion cap having more likes than his box plate; or that he claims SlickSilverSally became popular by acting like a clown. Nor does it matter what machine WesElite swings, whether someone has been accused of staging finds, or which detectorists are sleeping together.
The point is, metal detecting doesn't have a "reputation". It is not a living breathing thing (though it may often feel that way). And it would take a hell of a lot more than a little bit of Facebook drama to do any wide-spread damage to the hobby. I'm more concerned over rolling up on a property after a landowner has watched a television show depicting targets dug with a backhoe, or having to apologize because some yay-hoo has left gaping holes all over the place.
When I'm standing there with my shovel in hand the only thing the landowner really wants to know is whether I’m going to damage their property or steal something. Hashtag Are-you-going-to-kill-me-or-my-lawn!
It's too easy in this world of social media, with all its personalities, to wind up with an overdeveloped sense of self-importance. While certainly an online footprint can have far reaching consequences; in this scenario one's virtual reputation doesn't factor. What really matters is owning the traits that gained me the respect of those individuals who called me an "asset" or "ambassador" in the first place. And while I may not agree with the terminology, I like to think the meaning stands for integrity, kindness, and being a decent human being as well as any skills I may have developed as a detectorist.
When we apply these traits by respecting property, rebuilding the trust of landowners who have had a bad experience, positively influencing newer detectorists, and reinforcing good habits.--In these ways each one of us is an asset and ambassador of the hobby. And that my friends far outshines any minor rumblings from the mythical "dark side of detecting" lurking in the distant corners of the internet.
xoxo Siren Kimmie (HDIC Girls Rock Metal Detecting)
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