Seasons come and go. You know this to be true just by virtue of living in a temperate zone on this earth, assuming, of course, that you are reading this from either North America or Europe... Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, and back around again. But the metaphor is not a perfect one, as in our lives we transition from one season to another never to return to the previous season. Having kids is a good example of this. They are babies, then toddlers, the school-aged… and so on. Once that season is done, the kids move on and we parents do too, into the next thing that is coming around the bend.
For the past four years, I’ve been managing Umarex’s social media accounts. I’ve been doing a lot of writing, some traveling, some photography, and some informal video making when the situation called for it during this time.
Handing Over the Reins
Well, friends and neighbors, this season has come to an end for me, at least under the title of social media specialist. Starting very soon, I’ll turn over the reins of our social media accounts to a new member of our marketing staff. The guy who you’ve come to know as the “Squatch” will be jumping headlong into another project here at Umarex that won’t have such a public face. Even though I’ll no longer be on call for the socials, I’ll probably still crank out a blog entry once in a while for two main reasons: first, I like writing and second, there’s a lot of writing that needs done around here.
When I was young and in high school, I fell in love with language and the power of storytelling. As I have grown older I have become disillusioned with fiction, but I still love to apply something closely approximated to wit in written word and this is certainly an outlet for that.
The burden of writing content that is to be published periodically can be overwhelming when other job requirements are pressing down on a person. There were more than a few times I went to the grungy file cabinet in my brain where I store all my good ideas only to find nothing there. The cabinet was empty and I either needed to overcome a case of writer’s block or lean on someone else for a blog entry or even an idea. Keeping up with a blog can be a job in itself.
He’s No Charlie Daniels, but He’s Got Reflections
I’ve taken some time to reflect back on these four years and I thought it appropriate to share a few of my reflections on my time in this post at Umarex USA. If you are inclined, sit tight for a few moments and read along.
Not all social media is bad. In previous years there really wasn’t a way a company could talk to and, more importantly, listen to their customers in such a real-time way. When you think about how the internet has spoiled people, the spoiling is not so negative. Yes, we want things faster, but we can also get more done as a result of the tools we now have. While some of that communication is… unflattering, the vast majority of it is positive. Folks like to be connected to their hobbies and interests. They also want to be connected to the brands that make their favorite gear. The social medias are a great way for people to do just that. Being the “one guy” who takes that responsibility is quite a task, but it can be very rewarding.
Working in social media takes a good deal of energy and a level head. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t make some bad moves in my time in this role. I’d also be lying if I said that I liked dodging out of family time to address an unhappy or desperate customer. There are scheduling tools a social media person can utilize, but the fact remains that this type of job does require some attention “off the clock”. On one hand, it's a great gig that can open doors to meet some really fascinating people, but on the other hand, it does isolate you from some of those closest to you. Caveat emptor should you pursue a career in a public position.
I’ve got a confession to make-- I wasn’t really into airguns when I started doing this job. I hadn’t really given much thought at all to airguns since I was a kid. From the time I was old enough to use a firearm, I pretty well forgot about airguns. When I started working for Umarex the awareness of how large the tent of airguns was kinda blew me away. The number of licensed replicas was absolutely mind-blowing. The power now available with air was equally mindblowing. Airguns were different 30 years ago when I sat aside my air rifle for a .22 LR and a shotgun. Now there’s really nothing that can’t be done with air, and that’s stinking amazing. And you know what? I guess you could say I’m into airguns now. Seriously and in all earnestness- airguns rock!
My last reflection on my time as the social media specialist here at Umarex is, well, it’s that dreams really can come true. From those high schools days where I first read Ernest Hemingway and was enraptured at the man-among-men characters he wrote, to my college years where Mark Twain’s biting wit and William Faulkner’s finger-on-the-pulse of southern culture held me spellbound for thousands of pages, to my first career choice, teaching English to ninth and tenth-grade students how everything, all meaning, all understanding, is words. And if you were paying attention, that sentence was a tiny 69-word homage to Faulkner. He could really take you on a journey in one sentence. While I’m no Faulker, Twain, or Hemingway by anyone’s estimation, I did dream of earning a living with a pen. And that is exactly what the last few years have been for me- my livelihood was based entirely on my ability to communicate with words and images. My success in this area is arguable-- there’s hard data to suggest I did OK at this job, but could I have done better? Without hesitation, yes. Like any good southerner, I can be equally boastful and humble in the same breath.
It’s Been Real, and It’s Been Fun- It’s Been Real Fun!
So, yes, you might see me from time to time here in the blog portion of our company’s website. I’ve also started writing an occasional article in Tim Smith’s Airgun Hobbyist magazine. Who knows where my dubious writing talents will land me next? This little journey at Umarex has been a true honor and privilege. It’s taken me to various locals across the country several times and it’s allowed me to get to know many of you, our fans a bit better. And, yes, I’ve grieved when I learned that a few of the regulars I met on Facebook or Instagram have passed.
It’s time for me to turn the page in my life’s journey, a new chapter is unfolding for me and my family. The truth is, due to some long-standing health issues within my family, they need me at home, more so than the average dad. Moving into this new position of eCommerce Manager will take the pressure off of me when my tires are parked in my own dirt. Not only that, but it will give a new member of the Umarex family an opportunity to shine big on the socials.
And that’s about all I have to say about that.
Mark Davis, avid outdoorsman, family man, and outdoors writer is the eCommerce Manager for Umarex USA.